It is quite easy for us to think about the things we want in life. If I were to ask everyone here what you want for the next month or year, you would easily come up with a long list of items. If however, I ask you to list out the things you need for that same period, it would take more time and effort to draw up the list and it would be way more shorted than the list of things you want.
I also found out that most times circumstances dictate what we see as our most important needs. For instance, during the time of sickness, if anyone asks us what our greatest need is, we would day, “My greatest need right now is to be healed”. If you are out of work, you would see your greatest need to be geeting a job. I have seen mothers literally in nightgowns and without shoes, rushing their sick children to the hospital. At that very point in time, their greatest need was for the child to receive immediate care and attention.
While God often blesses us with our wants, there is no guarantee that when we ask Him to give us what we want, we will always get what we ask for. One thing the scripture however gives a 100% guarantee for, is that God will provide all that you need.
Last year, my wife and I went on an all-inclusive holiday to Morocco. By the time our flight touched down, we were hungry, we needed to eat. Although we got to the hotel rather late, the restaurant was able to provide a light meal for us. It was what we needed at the time and it was satisfying. The next day however, when we went for breakfast, there was so much food, we didn’t know where to start. By the third day, food was no longer at the top of our priorities. If you had asked us then what we needed, food would not have been at the top of the list.
Have you noticed that when you see the signage of most restaurants offering buffet service, they don’t write, “Eat all you need”. It is usually, “Eat all you want” or “Eat all you can”. They know that like everything else in life that we want, you can only enjoy the pleasure of eating for the moment. After the initial moment of enjoyment is over, the rest is work. At a point, you no longer eat because you enjoy it, you eat because you paid for it.
Satan attempted to use this strategy when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Jesus was understandably hungry after fasting in the wilderness for forty days. Satan decided to pounce on Jesus’ vulnerable state to tempt Him. “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread” (Matthew 4:3 - NIV) The problem here wasn’t so much about questioning Jesus’ ability to turn stone into bread. After all, this same Jesus turned water into wine in His first recorded miracle in the Bible. The problem here was Satan appealing to Jesus’ need to prove who He was. Jesus used that opportunity to tell Satan one of the fundamental needs of man, “Man shall not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 NIV)
This brings us to the fundamental need of man. The need for God. There is a void in every man and woman that needs to be filled. That void can only be filled by God. We are made to depend on Him. When He is missing, people tend to seek to fill that void through other means; money, power, drugs and relationships. The more they try to fill this void, the more they realise there is still something missing.
A young man once came to Jesus because knew there was something missing in his life. That conversation is recorded in Mark 10:17-27. The Lord’s response was not a direct answer to the man’s question, rather, he referred the man to the commandments which the young man was quick to respond, “Teacher, all these I have kept since I was a boy.” This was the point where the Lord pointed him to his ultimate need, “One thing you lack, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21) The young man went away disappointed because he felt Jesus did not address his need. Although he had kept the commandments from his youth, He had also spent his life trying to fill the void with knowledge and wealth but now Jesus was saying, “Give it all away and follow me?”
One fundamental truth that this young man did not understand is that all he needed was standing right in front of him. Without him, we are incomplete and without him, we will never be truly satisfied. St Augustine penned the following the words, “My heart is restless until I find my rest in Thee” King David also wrote in Psalm 42:1, “As the hart pants after the streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God”
Scripture tells us that we were made in the image of God and His likeness. It is therefore logical that God should be at the core of our being. If He is missing, then we miss the most important component of our existence. Every other need we have flows from our need for God who has given us access to Himself by sending His only begotten Son to earth to suffer and die for our sins. All we need to do is simply accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and let Him fill that void in our life.
It is essential to understand the difference between our wants and needs in life. While we often have a long list of things we want, our true needs are more fundamental and critical. The most fundamental need we all have is our need for God and that need can only be satisfied in Jesus. Without Him, there's an emptiness within us that we try to fill with worldly things like money, power, or relationships, but these can never truly satisfy us.
Jesus taught us that seeking God and accepting Him into our lives is the ultimate need. When we do this, we discover that our other needs are met as well. We find love and belonging in God's family, and we experience healing, not just physically but also spiritually and emotionally.
While our basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter are important, Jesus reminds us not to obsess over them, for God knows our needs and provides for us. Just like the birds in the air and the fish in the sea do not fuss over where they would get their food from but are fed through God's gracious provision, we can trust in our heavenly Father to provide for our needs.