Needs and Wants…

We all have three things in common; we all need food, shelter, and clothing.  These needs are vital to our well-being.  Without them we become weak and ill, unsettled and  afraid,  ashamed and embarrassedWhen these basic needs are not met we are unable to give  or share our gifts and talents with the world.

We need food to nourish our bodies and to give us strength and energy.  We are to eat to satisfy our physical hunger not to indulge our appetites.  But we crave snacks and delicacies, we want to be filled not just satisfied.  We want more than our daily bread.

We need four walls and a roof to protect us from the elements and predators.  Shelter is essential to our comfort and security and as our sanctuary.  However, we want more, we want luxury and privacy and many gadgets to entertain us.  We want a place that is so big that we do not have to share anything, not space or things, not even our time and presence.

By necessity we must have clothing to cover our nakedness.  We need  coverings to protect us from the elements, to keep us warm in the cold seasons and to keep us cool in the hot seasons.  But we long for more than what we need; more than one pair of shoes, more than one coat and hat, more than one shirt and skirt or pair of pants.  We want the latest fashion or fad.  We want to wear something different every day.

Needs are necessities, things we must have to be part of society.  Wants, however, are desires, things we crave or long for.  Why then do wants seem so much more important to us than our basic needs?  Why do we pursue our wants so passionately and with such determination?

There is nothing wrong with wanting more than we need.  There is a problem though when our wants become our  main or only focus.  When we demand what we want as our right without regard to the cost to others and  to ourselves  the want becomes obsession…the want becomes our god.  A god that will enslave us to our own selfish desires and passions and blind us to anything and anyone outside of ourselves.  Then we are truly poor.

But when we learn to want what we need instead of needing what we want we are free to explore and experience all that God has created for us.  Only then can we fully take part in the plans He has for us.  Then we will have more than we can imagine.  We will be rich.

Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the Lord?”  Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God. Proverbs 30:8-9

I wonder why having my needs met does not seem like “enough”?   I wonder why I think “more” is what I need?

Just wondering…

6 thoughts on “Needs and Wants…

  1. Hi Patricia,
    I was just thinking of you today, and blogger couldn’t find your blog. Now I know why! Thanks for coming by & commenting so I could find you!

    We live in an “I Want” society, and every advertisement put out encourages us to think that getting whatever “I Want” is good. I guess it is, good for those who supply our wants. But we are called to live differently, as you point out. Thanks for a thoughtful post.

  2. This one hits home — “wanting” is a constant struggle for me — one of my most obvious sins. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who struggles to live a balanced life, praise God for my daily bread, and be content.

    Love you

  3. Well Pat…
    You’ve done it again…so eloquently stated what we all struggle with. I have often wrestled with the question of need vs. want. I remember once being in a Sunday school class in Columbia years ago and saying to the teacher then –about this issue–I knew I only needed one pair of shoes…but I wanted many different types of shoes. His response to my statement/question was the following…”Ok, but do you think that God made all the rubies and diamonds, and beautiful beaches and places and things of the world to only be had and appreciated by the un-believers of the world?” I found this response to give me pause–but not totally satisfactory. Jesus told the rich young man to go and sell everything he had and come and follow him. Does that mean I need to do the same? Am I to be deliberately poor and without? (Some religious sects advocate that.) I don’t think so…but neither is it about me acquiring more and more–so that I need a bigger house or need to rent a storage shed (or as the scripture tells us–‘tear down a barn and build a bigger one’) for all my stuff, etc. It is a heart issue ultimately…

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