Could be just a semantic distinction, as a fine line separates the two. Hoarding is a distinctly western if not exclusively American phenomenon. Hoarding is so pervasive in our culture as to inspire a TV series by that name; so prevalent as to be a threat to even the most austere among us.
We don’t become hoarders overnight. It’s a long, slow process which can go unnoticed until the results are staring us in the face or, more to the point, surrounding us on a daily basis. We can become comfortable with our clutter if we’re not careful. It’s familiar, we get used to it.
Why is hoarding a distinctly American problem? Because you have to have an abundance in order to store up extra stuff that you are not currently using. Third world peoples do not have this problem of “too much stuff” taking up space in their homes (if they have homes) and their lives. Just watching an episode of “Hoarders, Buried Alive” on TV is enough to remind anyone that abundance can be a blessing or a burden. It seems to me what makes the difference between the two is whether we share or hang onto what we have.
After watching some episodes of “Hoarders” it seems to me that people will save/hoard anything from trash to treasure. And to some there is no difference or distinction between the two. For some, maybe life is filled with so much loss that they just can’t bear to lose another thing. So they hang on to what they can and lose their own lives in the process, or at least the quality of their lives for sure.
For others it may be they feel the loss of control in their lives, so hanging on to things gives the illusion of control, until our things began controlling us and our lives. It is then we realize that we didn’t gain control, we actually lost it. Hoarders hang their hopes on holding on to their stuff. People may come and go but the stuff stays.
Hoarding interferes with relationships. Our stuff prevents people from entering our homes and our lives. It is one of life’s ironies that in other countries their problems stem from a lack, a lack of food or water or shelter or medicine or clothing; while here problems stem from an abundance, our over abundance; over shopping, overspending, debt, greed, stealing to acquire more things, always wanting more, not being thankful for what we do have, abundance can be a blessing or a curse.
James said something interesting about this, “Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?” (James 2:5) The intangible things (like faith, hope, love, joy) are more valuable than the tangible things we spend so much effort seeking after here.
2 Corinthians 4:18 affirms this saying, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
” . . . give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown You and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:8-9)
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Good advice for us all in this age of abundance. Let’s not be held prisoner by our possessions but “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
sincerely, Grace Day