Consider the hoarder.

All the odd hours a mother keeps because of a breastfeeding infant means in our home you can walk in the living room—sometimes at 4 am, sometimes 11:30 pm—and find my half-delirious wife on the couch watching depressing TV shows.

Lately it’s been Hoarders. Only my wife will tell you that, unlike me, it doesn’t depress her. It makes her feel better about a few toys laying around in the wake of three young boys.

So I get interesting text messages throughout the day like this: ‘OMG. hoarders. 76 animals removed from the home. 35 were dead skeletons.’ How that doesn’t make you want to down a whole bottle of Cymbalta, I don’t know. But I digress.

Here’s what interests me about the whole thing: it’s symbols like the people in Hoarders that God uses in Scripture to teach us about himself and about life. We gain something from the truth in abstract form, like saying “having a desire to keep everything will destroy your life,” but it just doesn’t carry the same force as seeing a couple on the brink of divorce, paying $7,000 a month to cover four mortgages on two homes because they can’t get rid of their stuff.

Which leads me to my four-year-old wanna-be hoarder. I think there’s a time and place, especially in line with the father-son style teaching of Proverbs, to point to something like that and say, ‘Do you see where that path leads? Do you see where this desire to keep everything will take you?’ (Yup, we’ve gone from breastfeeding to Hoarders to symbolism to dead animals to Cymbalta to mortgages to the book of Proverbs. And in only a few paragraphs, I might add).

“The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth.” (Prov 19:24)

Consider the hoarder, O three-foot child, and throw that trash away.

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