The Hoarder Next Door
Isaiah 5: 1-7 (GNT)
1 Listen while I sing you this song,
a song of my friend and his vineyard:
My friend had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
2 He dug the soil and cleared it of stones;
he planted the finest vines.
He built a tower to guard them,
dug a pit for treading the grapes.
He waited for the grapes to ripen,
but every grape was sour.
3 So now my friend says, “You people who live in Jerusalem and Judah, judge between my vineyard and me. 4 Is there anything I failed to do for it? Then why did it produce sour grapes and not the good grapes I expected?
5 “Here is what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge around it, break down the wall that protects it, and let wild animals eat it and trample it down. 6 I will let it be overgrown with weeds. I will not trim the vines or hoe the ground; instead, I will let briers and thorns cover it. I will even forbid the clouds to let rain fall on it.”
7 Israel is the vineyard of the Lord Almighty;
the people of Judah are the vines he planted.
He expected them to do what was good,
but instead they committed murder.
He expected them to do what was right,
but their victims cried out for justice.
It is a running joke in my family and friends that I am like the ‘hoarder next door.’ I hold on to things because ‘that reminds me of…’ or ‘I’ll find a use for that’ ‘ I’ll wear it’ or I’ll read that book.’ Two years ago, I decided I was going to have a major clear out, get rid of all the clutter and have a ‘fresh start.’ My cousin came over and spent nearly a week with me helping me to get rid of all the things that I did not need or use. Somehow though, over the last year I have managed to acquire a whole load more stuff and I am again surrounded by clutter that I really do not need and will not use. It is a weight that drags me down and I have again allowed my living space to become like an overgrown vine because I have not pruned it.
This can happen in our lives. We want a fresh start, perhaps to free ourselves of debt, lose weight, get out of a bad relationship. And we try to but it is hard to break away and we find ourselves pulled back into old patterns of behaviour as we tell ourselves that perhaps it wasn’t that bad after all. As the weight again drags us down we wonder why our life is still not producing the good fruit that we expect…
hoarders can only get rid of the clutter when they see it for what it is…
Letting go is hard and pruning what no longer serves us can be difficult and painful.
Give me the courage to look at myself and my life honestly.
Help me Lord to know what I need to prune, to get rid of rubbish
so that I can live in freedom and bear good fruit.