Sunday, October 13, 2019

Stash With a Purpose


While discussing TV shows, a friend asked, “Do you watch the one about hoarders?”
Have You Ever Watched Hoarders?

“To be honest,” I said, “I just can’t stand to see stuff piled from wall to wall in every room.  There’s hardly any place to even sit!”

I confess that I’ve been a collector of many things over the years. I’ve even had a dedicated “junk room” now and then. It was nice to have it out of sight, out of mind.

But now and then I’d ask myself, “Why am I keeping this stuff?” Highly motivated, I would start sorting through things. I always felt good about the resulting pile of charitable donations.

Goods or Cash---Both are Worthy Donations
If you’ve ever visited a thrift store, it’s easy to see truth in the old saying one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

I’ve met people from the Depression Era who saved an endless variety of things. Some even went so far as to build extra cupboards or buy huge plastic containers for storage. When I think of what they went through, it’s not hard to understand their motivation.

It’s not wrong to do what we can to provide for future needs. God even prepared an entire country for a coming famine. You can read the full story in Genesis, Chapter Forty-One.

Pharaoh, an Egyptian king, had two troubling dreams. In searching for an interpreter, someone mentioned Joseph. He was a former slave, now in prison, but known for interpreting dreams.

Joseph listened to the king’s dreams. Then he left and asked God for the interpretation. The basic message was this: Seven years of abundant harvest would be followed by seven years of famine.
Fields of Wheat Are Full of Hope

In appreciation for this warning, Pharaoh appointed Joseph to a high leadership position.

Joseph began storing grain in the good years. When the lean years arrived, there was such an abundance he even sold grain to neighboring countries. His stash had a purpose.

There is always a certain amount of wisdom in planning ahead. But for what purpose?

Scriptures instruct us to love our neighbor as ourselves. In fact, James 2:8 calls this “the royal law.” But I have heard people describe how they would use force if someone tried to steal their stash in perilous times.

Only You Know the Answers
Who doesn’t believe hard times will come? Even among people who choose to plan ahead, results will vary.

Some will label their stash: For Me and Mine Only.

Others will stash with a broader purpose: In Case of Emergency, Open and Share.

Which label would most describe you?

Sunday, October 6, 2019

What's Wrong With Boundaries?


Some people dislike limitations of any kind, even the logistical variety. But boundaries have been in place ever since the Garden of Eden.

An Apple Simply Represents Temptation 
Adam and Eve had full run of the garden except for a verbal boundary. God said, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:16-17).   

Read the third chapter of Genesis and you’ll see that Eve fell for a lie and ate from the tree. Adam allowed himself to be drawn in, too.

Since verbal boundaries were not enough, God set up a visible boundary.

First, Adam and Eve were banished from the garden. Then God placed cherubim and a flaming sword that flashed back and forth at the entrance (Genesis 3:24). That would be hard to miss.

Fences Illustrate Boundaries
An old western song says, “Don’t fence me in.” Personal boundaries can keep people both in and out. Lack of boundaries can cause people to become exhausted, and even resentful, of the very people they want to help.

As a caregiver for both my husband and father, hospice urged me to be sure to care for myself. It was up to me to make time to get out for a walk or run errands. When I explained what I needed, both my husband and father supported my decisions.

A wise, but anonymous, person said, “Whatever you are willing to put up with is exactly what you will have.”

Henry Cloud, author of a well-known book on BOUNDARIES, said, “You get what you tolerate.”

Think about it.

Unless we set meaningful boundaries, our life will simply keep flowing away. Instead of a spring of living water, we will become a dry well.

So, what’s wrong with boundaries?

Nothing. They are a necessary part of healthy living.