Summary: Christians in America have become Spiritual Hoarders: Buried Alive with stuff and debt. Our pursuit of “treasures” and the accumulation of stuff hinder our pursuit of God.

Cornerstone Church

October 6, 2013

“The Power of a New Affection”

Matthew 6:19-21

“Mrs. Bertha Adams was seventy-one years old when she died alone in West Palm Beach, Florida on Easter Sunday 1976. The Coroner’s report read, ‘Cause of Death…malnutrition.’ After wasting away to fifty pounds she could no longer stay alive. When the state authorities made their preliminary investigation of her home, they found a veritable ‘pigpen…the biggest mess you can imagine.’ One seasoned inspector declared he had never seen a dwelling in greater disarray.

Bertha had begged food at her neighbors’ door and had gotten what clothes she had from the Salvation Army. From all appearances she was a penniless recluse – a pitiful and forgotten widow. But such was not the case! Amid the jumble of her filthy, disheveled belongings were found two keys to safe-deposit boxes at two different local banks. The discovery was unbelievable.

* The first box contained over 700 AT&T stock certificates, plus other valuable notes, bonds, and financial securities, not to mention cash amounting to $200,000.00.

* The second box had no certificates, just cash - $600,000.00 to be exact.

Bertha Adams was a millionaire and then some! Yet she died of starvation. Her case was even more tragic if she was destitute spiritually.”

Dr. R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount, pg. 205

What was once considered rare is now trending and more mainstream.

Hoarding: Buried Alive on The Learning Channel and Discovery Health Channel take the audience behind the scenes to witness this phenomenon.

Houses filled with so much stuff those living there cannot even navigate their own home.

The worst case I saw was an individual who filled up their home and rented several homes and a commercial property to store their “Treasures.”

I use the word “Treasures” because it best describes their view of the stuff! When their family tries to help them along with people from the community or professional organizers they refuse to let these “treasures” go.

Please note I mean no disrespect. This is a serious problem.

* People save because of the memories associated with it.

* They save because it may be useful to them in the future.

* They save for a future day or because of some hobby.

What begins with good motives and intentions gets out of hand. The trap is sprung.

* The individual’s attachment to the material goods eventually drives a wedge between them and their family and loved ones.

* Parents risk losing custody of their minor age children.

* They often cut ties with their friends.

* Their home becomes a toxic environment affecting their physical health.

The bottom line is that the very treasures they seek to collect, store, and protect rot and disintegrate away before their eyes in the hands of the professional organizers.

Worthless Treasures bound for the landfill and dump!

Why would I talk about this subject on a Sunday morning (especially just after breakfast and before lunch)?

I am speaking on this subject because I believe the trap is sprung on the American Church!

Christians in America have become Spiritual Hoarders: Buried Alive with stuff and debt.

Our pursuit of “treasures” and the accumulation of stuff hinder our pursuit of God.

God is buried alive (pushed aside) by trinkets and treasures

Missionaries wait endlessly to go to Mission Fields waiting for support

Churches face more and more difficulty every year meeting financial costs.

The treasures we pursue, collect and protect are equally going to disintegrate before our eyes.

The treasures have a limited shelf - planet earth! Then they expire!

We have believed a lie and are cheating God!

The one with the most toys actually loses!

I’m sharing this message so that we might be set free!

I’m not sharing this because the church needs more money!

I’m sharing this so that you can begin to obey God and experience His joy and freedom in your life again or for the first time.

* Christians do not give because God needs money.

* Christians are not called to give because the church wants your money!

* Christians give because God asks us to obey Him in this area.

Everything we own is already His!

We are His!

He wants us to joyfully and generously give to Him as an act of worship!

We will remain stunted in our relationship with God missing His joy and pleasure if we do not learn to give!

The place of greatest blessing, joy and happiness is found in obeying God from the heart!

Points of Clarification:

* Wealth is not wrong – it is how we use it.

* Owning things is not wrong – it is the value we place on them.

* Earning a living and responsibly caring for our family and paying our bills is not wrong.

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