Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The World of Needs and Wants

Philippians 4:11

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

profileChristmas is coming.  In a recent sermon I mentioned that many of us have trouble with the concepts of need and want.  We tend to blend the want items with the need items.  In doing so we can often live beyond our means – adding wants to what we conceive to be needs.  For example – spending $40,000 and up on an auto may not be the best allocation of funds for a person that makes the average income.  Yet some of us do it.  We rationalize it in a variety of ways.  Yet a $20,000 to $25,000 vehicle – and there are many reliable vehicles in that price range – could get us from point A to point B quite well and get us 200,000 plus miles to boot.  Just think of what an additional $20,000 to $15,000 – plus interest – could do for your savings in a 5-6 year period.

Using big-ticket items as examples – what about the home we live in?  Does it meet our needs or is it mixed in with our wants?  Mortgage brokers often try to fit us into the house we can afford rather than the house we need.  Think about the money invested in our home and what need we might meet with the excess?  For some of us it might be upwards of $100,000 or more beyond our need.

I’m not suggesting we live in our need only – without some of our wants being satisfied.  But if we thought more about need and want we might make wiser decisions.  For instance – are we generously giving to God and God’s work now or have we so narrowed our expendable income by mixing our needs and wants that we find ourselves giving a small portion of God’s blessings to us back to Him for His work through the church and other worthy causes?  Just a thought.

Paul gives us an insight – I believe – into what happens when we get a better view of needs and wants.  The scripture we all cling to come at the end of the passage about needs and wants.  Philippians 4:10-13 – 10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Paul had learned how to live in his needs – even thought he had once lived in the world of having his wants too.  He learned how to be content and to be satisfied with much less than he once had.  He had learned that he could do everything – even living in the world of needs rather than wants – because of the strength he received from knowing Jesus Christ.  I wise word for us at Christmas time.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

P.S. – Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela.

December 6, 2013 - Posted by | Advent Thought, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Good one, Ray, thanks. I told my Beloved a couple of days ago that people who are older really are having a second childhood in some ways. Remember the toddler who has a special “blankie”? Well, older folks, to keep their legs warm and cozy, often have their own special lap blanket, too. Jonathan Winters once said, “When we’re born, we don’t know who we are. And, when we’re old, we don’t know who we are.” Happily, if we are following Christ, looking to Him for our needs, we always know who we are and Whose we are. Yes, needs and wants need to be discerned. Thank you for this great insight, Ray!


    Comment by Favorite Son | December 6, 2013 | Reply

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