There is a show that has gained some popularity in the last 9 months or so.  It’s called Hoarders, and it is shown on the basic cable channel A&E.  The show typically focuses on two different people, interweaving their stories throughout the episode.  These two people have something in common: an uncontrollable attachment to stuff.  Personally, I don’t like to watch the show because of two reasons: 1) it almost makes me sick seeing the conditions in which these people (many of whom have a serious mental illness that leads them to hoarding in the first place) live; and 2) it gives my wife extra motivation to do some cleaning around the house, which means I have to do some extra cleaning around the house.  Now, has anyone seen my sarcasm font?  I can’t seem to find it in my pile of books and papers next to the computer…  Anyway, the show itself has fascinated people for a while, and has even led to a spin-off about animal hoarding as well.  However, hoarding is not a recent problem by any stretch of the imagination.  As we continue in Exodus, we find that hoarding, at the very least, goes all the way back to the Israelites who had just escaped Egypt.

When we get to Exodus 16, the Egyptian pursuers have been left behind in the Sea of Reeds, and the people of Israel know that they are truly free.  Nobody is coming to recapture them and take them back to Egypt now.  They are at the beginning of what ends up being a very long journey to the Promised Land.  Unfortunately, Exodus 16 begins in the same kind of way that many of the other stories during this journey begin – with the people of Israel complaining about something.  This time, they are grumbling because they don’t have enough food.  Once again, they are looking back fondly at their time in Egypt because they may have been slaves, but at least they had something to eat.  And, once again, the people are blaming Moses for this predicament.

So, the Lord offers a solution.  For five days, there will be enough bread from heaven (which is called ‘manna’) for the Israelites to collect for the day.  On the sixth day, the people are to collect enough for two days, since they want to keep the Sabbath as a day of rest.  So, in the evening, quail come and the people have meat to eat, and in the morning, there is this manna all over the ground that the people were to collect for the day (or two days if it was the day before the Sabbath).

I’d like to say that Moses told the people what was going on, and they happily obeyed the command.  I’d like to say that… but I can’t.  Here’s what happened:

16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat.  You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.'” 17 And the people of Israel did so.  They gathered, some more, some less.  18 But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gather much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had not lack.  Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. 19 And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.” 20 But they did not listen to Moses.  Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank.  And Moses was angry with them.

At the heart of what is going on here is a lack of trust, a lack of faith that God will provide as He has promised. After all, why would you set some aside for later unless you believed that God wasn’t going to give you more the next day?  I think this says a lot about giving all that you have as a leader on every single day.  As long as you stay connected to God, as long as you continue to trust in His promises in your life, there is no need to go out there and only give a little bit, hoping to save some for the next day.

As we read through Scripture, we see that rest is an important part of the rhythm of life, and I’m not suggesting that if you rest you aren’t giving 100% of who you are.  I think that rest is important.  Leaders especially need to be in tune with the rhythm of their lives – knowing when to rest and when to push forward.  But when it is time to work, give everything that you have.  God will replenish you during those times of rest.  But when we fail to give everything, when we try to leave it for another day, then we wake up the next morning wondering why the smell of maggots is in our nostrils.

There’s the old adage in sports of leaving everything out on the field/court.  And that’s really what I’m trying to get at here as well.  Give everything that you have because you have been called by an awesome God that expects us to give all of who we are to Him.  Pay attention to the rhythm of your life and don’t overwork yourself to the point of burnout, but don’t hold things in reserve either.  Go out there and give everything that you have for the Lord today because he will give you the strength to get through tomorrow when tomorrow comes.