September 15, 2016

Need vs. Want

A mill levy is the revenue stream for many taxing districts. During a recent board meeting of one such district a trustee said he would like to see revenues increased with a ballot issue, “…and then [we’ll] see what we want to spend it on.” As individuals many of us have a similar attitude…we want to win the lottery, or have God bless, and then we’ll decide what we want to spend it on. God is more focused on our needs than our wants. Jesus said, “…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt 6:8b NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----If we were existing in God’s perfect heaven, there would be no difference between need or want, well, at least in terms of rightness to have. Anything had will be right to have there, because nothing will be wrong there. That’s the nature of perfection.
-----But we are living in earth’s imperfection. Here it is really difficult to determine what are needs. For instance, the bobcat needs to eat, otherwise it will die. The rabbit on the trail, whether or not he wanted or needed to be on the trail, is now in the bobcat’s claws. It’s now like, too bad, rabbit, you need to die. The rabbit in the hole needs to live. He will also need to be more careful than the rabbit on the trail. Pre-bobcat claws, the rabbit on the trail needed to be careful because he needed to live and did not want to die. But he wasn’t careful, therefore, post-bobcat claws he needs to die so the bobcat can eat, yet he wants to live (as expressed by that last little twitch of a leg.) Subtleties of situations can really change up the differences between needs and wants (however subtle might be bobcat claws.)
-----In this world, nothing comes without the expense of something else. Ask the careless rabbit.
Sometimes that expense is at the hand of the one who gets what the expenditure brings forth, like the produce of a garden. The gardener expended hard work and now eats great tomatoes. Most of the time things don’t happen that way. The gardener could not make the pot he needed for stewing tomatoes with the rabbit snared out of its hole. So he gave his neighbor, the pot maker, who expends hard labor making many more pots than he needs, yet can’t grow tomatoes worth a darned, he gives him some tomatoes for a pot. The wherewithal to expend also effects the differentiation between needs and wants. If the gardener could not grow any more tomatoes than he could eat, then his cooking tomatoes with a rabbit becomes a want, and he will need to eat the tomatoes raw and forget the rabbit (tomatoes don’t carry Tularemia.)
-----But in this world where good comes by bad (our eternal life comes by the Almighty God’s having been nailed to death on a cross,) even having expended plenty enough hard labor to possess more than enough extra pots does not transform all wants into needs. Although the pot maker enjoys the abundance of corn he got by trading some pots to the farmer down the road, the poor tomato grower’s want of a pot becomes the pot maker’s need of being generous. So, all the labor he expended on the pot gets him nothing so that the nothing the gardener had to expend could yet get the gardener a pot. The gardener’s want was elevated to a need by the pot maker’s generosity.
-----Even if the gardener got no tomatoes this year and was near to starvation, and the rabbits were all gone and there was only dirt to eat and dust to drink, his need to eat would become a mere want as the inevitable death of his body would transform his concept of food from tomatoes to the Lord, thus shifting his need from eating to praying.
-----The part of situation ethics that is wrong is that wrong is wrong and right is right, no matter what the situation. The part of it that is right is that the situation in which you are is a large part of the difference between needs and wants. Once you know the Lord, you will know right from wrong. While knowing the Lord, then, the next important thing is knowing the situation in which you are so you can further distinguish between what you want and what you need.

Love you all,
Steve Corey