AN AMAZING FACT: Compulsive hoarding is a condition where a person habitually gathers or buys growing piles of useless possessions, and then seems powerless to discard anything. This expanding collection of junk can lead to unbearable living conditions that cause significant clutter and impairment to mobility within their home. Of course, this pathological collecting is a strain on relationships, but it can also interfere with basic living activities such as cooking, cleaning, showering, or sleeping.
For example, an eccentric loner in Britain hoarded so much junk and trash he had to burrow through it to get around his home. Then in January 2009 he evidently got lost in the maze of tunnels and died of thirst. This 74-year-old human mole, Gordon Stewart, had filled the rooms of his house clear up to the ceiling with years’ worth of old newspapers, garbage, and clutter, making it impossible to walk around. Neighbors said Mr. Stewart’s home had been accumulating rubbish for at least 10 years. Heaps of plastic bags could clearly be seen piled up against his front window, while broken furniture, computer parts, and even an old TV spilled over onto his front lawn. A car dating back to the 1950s stood in the garage, untouched for years as garbage accumulated around it.
Neighbors in Broughton, England, called authorities after failing to see him leave his house for several days. When police arrived, the stench from the garbage was so foul they brought in a police scuba diving team with breathing apparatus to search the dwelling. They crawled around through mountains of junk and garbage, searching the elaborate network of tunnels until they located Stewart’s body. The compulsive hoarder is believed to have become disorientated inside the walls of rotting trash and unable to find a way out until he collapsed from dehydration.
The Bible says there is “ … A time to keep, and a time to throw away” (Ecclesiastes 3:6). We might roll our eyes at people who struggle with hoarding, but there is probably a touch of greed in everyone’s heart. If insecurity drives us to find peace in collecting the things of this world, let us do a deep work of removing the clutter of such thinking and rest in Jesus.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36