Need: (Dictionary): To be in want of; ought to have; be unable to do without; want; require.
Need (Bible): That which is lacking; need; be behind; to come short; a debt.
I was viewing the old black and white Twilight Zone TV series and came across one episode that was particularly interesting. The show was entitled “What You Need.” Wants versus needs- an age-old struggle!
The storyline was about an old man who comes to the same bar every night to peddle his wares. He carries an old, beat-up case filled with common everyday things. He tells the clients what it is they need before they realize they need it. Some accept what he is offering and some-for the moment- reject his kindly offer. Moments after telling a washed up major league pitcher he needs a ticket to Scranton, Pennsylvania he gets a phone call offering him a job there. When the old man tells him, he needs a pair of scissors, another man scoffs at him but and when his scarf is caught in an elevator door, he’s glad the old man was right.
The desire for wants seems to be especially apparent at Christmas time. The ads continually tell us what we need or create a want which is really not a need but seems to be! Many seem to have an “I want it” attitude from childhood and on into adulthood. God’s word always gives the answer to our questions including -what do I need?
When we read the Bible, we see God’s generous provision for His children over and over. That provision has two areas of focus. One is for our personal needs and the other is to meet the needs of others. The church at Philippi had sent Paul a gift that was probably desperately needed. Paul had been beaten and was in prison for the sake of the Gospel. His needs were probably great.
Philippians 4:18-19: 18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (NASB)
Paul, in turn, reminded the Philippi church that their needs will be met as well through Jesus!
God’s word is abundant with giving and He already knows our needs!
Matthew 6:8: 8 Don’t recite the same prayer over and over as the heathen do, who think prayers are answered only by repeating them again and again. Remember, your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! (TLB)
The old man in the story above knew what was needed before his clients did! And it is interesting that, at first, most of his clients didn’t’ even want what was offered! The old man revealed their needs and was persistent by saying “this is what you need! “Those that accepted the man’s statements saw amazing things happen in their lives.
However, the greatest of all needs can only be granted through Jesus Christ! And that need is salvation! Most do not see their need and do not see their lack of a “want”. The book of Revelation offers an interesting picture of the church at Laodicea which may apply to the world’s current attitude towards the gospel:
Revelation 3:14-17: 14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation: 15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” (NLT)
People don’t see their need for a life lived in Jesus. Like Laodicea they don’t see their desperate needs.
As Jesus taught, He clearly stated that He had what everyone needs. One of our needs is to walk out our time here as witnesses of His truth. We need to be diligent about our witness! If we walk how He wants us to walk, that should create a “want“ for God in those watching our lives!
A list of our needs should include reaching out to others with the good news. We should walk under the wisdom of God to use our wants and needs as a testimony of Gods goodness!
Psalm 19:14: 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” (NASB)