Finding Reason: If We Had Only Learned From Our Empty Shelves Before

By Jeff Adams 
Posted 2/23/22

As the convoy of truckers protest all the mandates associated with government responses to this perpetual plague, many assuredly will panic. Once again we will likely see empty shelves at our …

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Finding Reason: If We Had Only Learned From Our Empty Shelves Before


As the convoy of truckers protest all the mandates associated with government responses to this perpetual plague, many assuredly will panic. Once again we will likely see empty shelves at our favorite grocery stores. It’s as if we don’t regularly live in such a way that we are prepared for disasters. No, we wait until we think there might be an eminent one, then masses panic and oversupply themselves all at the same time. This creates a shortage for everyone else.

If more of us regularly planned for disasters, we wouldn’t see such mass panic. If most of us already kept extra food and supplies on hand, we wouldn’t have so many depleting supplies all at once. But, here we are again.

Lack of foresight usually leads to problems. People who live like tomorrow is guaranteed to come and be great are typically the very ones who are caught off-guard when disaster strikes. While it is definitely unhealthy to live like tragedies are eminent, it is unwise to not plan for disasters which can come unexpectedly.

The popularity of reality television shows which highlight hoarders has certainly led to an uptick in the popularity of minimizing. Countless books, blogs, and articles have been published, imploring people to downsize and/or reduce their personal possessions.

The term, minimalism, has become quite trendy in the past few years. It’s rather amusing that minimalist gurus argue that minimalism is counter-culture. In my mind when something is so trendy, it cannot at the same time be counter-culture.

There are many good things about minimalism. The fact that one has to eliminate greed in order to practice it wholly is certainly a great element. Greed is bad, so eliminating it has to be good.

When people don’t really care much at all about owning things, they are less likely to commit idolatry. After all, if you can readily let go of any possession, you aren’t clinging to idols.

Additionally, when one doesn’t care to own much, one will not likely engage in covetousness. Coveting is a sin, so living indifferently to personal property can eliminate coveting as well.

Plus, minimalists often are quite charitable. In order to keep things to a minimum, they usually give their stuff away. When people gift them things, they sometimes automatically think they must give something away for balance. Others benefit from their benevolence when this happens.

I can go on and on about the benefits of minimalism. There definitely are some great benefits to that kind of living, so kudos to those who practice it well.

Growing up poor has led many people to become hoarders. I’ve known people who grew up during the Great Depression and they definitely were hoarders, never wanting to throw anything away. It seems growing up that poor made them cling to things a little too much.

I grew up very poor myself and although I wouldn’t classify myself as a hoarder, I would say I struggle throwing things away. In my case, my growing up poor has led to a practice of “saving things in case we might need them later.” At least one of my children would call me a hoarder for that very reason.

That same adult child read a book with his wife and immediately decided to become minimalists. They discarded so much and even downsized their clothing to nearly only a week’s supply of outfits. Minimalism became their thing.

Shortly thereafter my adult child needed some things he used to have, but had discarded. I loaned them to him. Then, after that, the regrets began to settle in for both of them. They found themselves needing many of the things they had tossed. As they tried to recover, it put them in a bad financial condition because they had to start replenishing things they needed — things which they had thrown out.

It seems we should think things through, rather than simply following trends. Following trends for the sake of following trends tends to come back and bite us. It certainly did with my son and his wife.

Interestingly, though, they certainly were quick to advise others, including me, on “downsizing.” They wanted me to throw my stuff away, too. They had found this new euphoric feeling in getting rid of things and felt they must recruit others into this fantasy world. As it turns out, it wasn’t such a great thing. No, it actually caused more problems for them than it solved. I’m grateful I did not follow their advice, lest I not have the things they needed to borrow. On top of that, I didn’t have to go through the experience of regretting tossing things I actually needed.

If we just use wisdom, we can find balance in life even when it comes to keeping and tossing stuff. Right about now, it’s comforting to know that if stores run out of supplies, I have an ample amount to take care of my family for a while. I won’t be one of the many, rushing to hoard supplies. 

Wouldn’t you think after our other empty shelves experiences, we would learn. No, here we are again. Ugh.

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”

– King Solomon, Proverbs 21:5 (ESV)


Pastor Jeff Adams is a longtime community leader, victim advocate, counselor and chaplain. He ministers internationally, nationally and locally. His column appears online weekly and can be reached at


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