Friday, April 27, 2012

Unexpected indirect blessing of tithing: learning to de-clutter

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10)

This verse contains the great blessing that comes with paying tithing—that there will not be room enough to receive the blessing poured out. However, if we also look at it from the perspective of de-cluttering, it teaches another principle—the necessity of being able to perceive when there is “not room enough.” Finding there is not room enough is an invitation to give away the surplus and be blessed further.

These days many people are not able to tell that they have no room to receive more. They live their lives with homes stuffed with goods that are not important enough to the way they are living their lives now. This verse gives us the hint that an indirect blessing of paying tithing is that we will begin to discern what we need and what we don’t and be able to tell when we have been given more than we are able to receive. If we are able to tell the difference between what we can receive to make use of and what we don’t have room to receive, we will be able to de-clutter, our lives will be simpler, and our possessions will be streamlined in a manner that will really facilitate our lives of discipleship rather than inhibiting us.

How does tithing help us do this? When we pay tithing, we learn it is possible to live with what is left over. It gives us a chance to cultivate greater efficiency in our expenditures. That skill of efficient use can spill over to other parts of our stewardship, such as considering how our space is used and whether the things we have that fill up our space are really serving us as they should. Paying tithing takes practice, and de-cluttering takes practice too. Paying tithing gives us practice in sacrificing, so it will be easier for us to let go of what we don’t need when we de-clutter.


Becky Rose said...

wow- this is great. Never thought of it from that point. A few years ago when the Ensign wanted readers to tell them what they wanted to read, what their favorite article from the past was, I mentioned to them hording, as I've seen members with the problem. It's probably not a spirutual enough to do so, but if you go at it from this angel it would be. Also reminds me of what King Ben says about being unprofitable servants, because when we serve, the Lord blesses us and then we can bless others with our over abundance, thus the cycle continues. It's what DI is about.

Michaela Stephens said...

Becky, I have been thinking and researching a lot about hoarding and thinking about what spiritual principles could help with hoarding. I may do some posts on that problem. It is a complex issue.

One of the many traits involved is perfectionism; hoarders are afraid to make mistakes. (Perfectionism is a counterfeit of the quest for perfection. BYU Magazine has a great article about discerning the difference between them.--

Another is a tendency to feel over-responsible for others, to provide for everyone's needs and wants.

Another is fear of forgetting. Hoarders feel they must make sure they remember everything. They can remember all kinds of stories about their stuff, but they fear forgetting any information that is important (perfectionism again).

Another is difficulty making decisions, getting overwhelmed with options (and also fearing making a mistake).

Another is procrastination and distraction.

Another is sentimental attachment to a much wider scope of things than most other people get attached to.

Another issue is that they see value in stuff even when it is not usable and they believe they are responsible for extracting that value.

Often they have experienced severe emotional deprivation at an earlier point in their lives from abusive, neglectful, or emotionally absent parents. Stuff is their comfort.

Becky Rose said...

I believe there is a Hoarders anonymous programs and from what I've read in the past- it's been a while is that it's also a mental illness. James L. Ferrell has a new book out called Falling to Heaven, he's the author of The Peacegiver, that talks about prideful extremes- some I've never considered before. That may help in thinking about it.