The Necessities of Life: Needs VS Greeds

Necessities of Life – From Needs to Greed

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NLT)
The Necessities of Life!

What are the necessities of life that you think you cannot live without? The modern world seems to have changed the thought pattern on life’s necessities. A survey completed last year in England listed 20 of the so-called modern life “bare necessities”. The list came about after researchers conducted a study among 2000 adults between the ages of 18 and 65. The top five modern life “bare necessities” were; an internet connection followed by television, cuddling, a true friend, and a daily bath.  Also making the list was central heat, cars, coffee or tea, chocolate, cell phones, and love. The list although a bit outrageous when placed against true necessities of life did offer some comfort in humanity as approximately 77 percent of those surveyed claimed that although they did not wish to live without their phones, televisions, or cars every one of the material items were replaceable. The surveyed group also felt that people were guilty of overlooking essential things in life such as love and friendship and often favored material things over them. For every six in ten people, the “bare necessities” in life have changed as they grew in age, with seven in ten claiming they have become less materialistic. And although 33 percent of people claim they could function without a smartphone, laptop and social networking, 60 percent would find it frustrating. Things certainly have changed over time.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics archives state that in 1900 the three main categories of spending were food, housing, and apparel.  The same still rings true today but with added categories of healthcare and transportation. There are changes seen however in the categories of “other” and entertainment. Entertainment has not changed as drastically as I thought it would have since 1900. By 1950 Americans were spending about 4% on entertainment which had doubled from the 2% of 1900. Interestingly enough however the figures from 2003 and more recently from 2013 – 2014 have not dramatically increased. 2003 saw the entertainment percent rise to 5% while by the last report of 2013 – 2014 dropped back to 4% so we have seen no increase in entertainment since really 1950.

The “other” category however is a different matter altogether and as I look around and survey my collection of “stuff” I can certainly see why. The “other” spending category in the United States in 1900 ranked a low 13%. This would be for all the “stuff” we felt we needed. An almost double rise in that category occurred by 1950 where it was 21%. This category continued to rise as the years of convenience moved forward and our wants began to outrank our needs so that by the year 2003 the spending of American’s in the “other” category had now risen to a whopping 39%. That is a lot of “stuff”. It appears that the more we have the more we think we need.  What are the basic necessities of life? Should we look beyond food, shelter, and clothing? What are our true needs and where does God fit in?

As we consider our true needs and the modern society we live in perhaps we need to place God at the front of these needs and then categorize those needs into three groups; financial, emotional, and spiritual. How can God help us meet these necessities of life?

The great preacher Charles Spurgeon tells a story of a wise man to which a large sum of money was given to help benefit a poor minister.

Upon receiving the funds the wise man thought it would be best to give the gift in smaller increments rather than sending it all at once.

So he mailed the poor minister five pounds and inside the envelope he placed a small note that was simply written but that stated, ”More to follow”.

The poor minister continued to receive regular envelopes of money always with the same small note inside that stated, ”More to follow”.

Doesn’t God deal with us the same way? The provisions of necessities in the financial, emotional, and spiritual realms that we receive today is a continued pledge from God of which we will be given tomorrow; and that which we receive tomorrow will likewise be a continued promise of the proclamation, ”More to follow.”

Our focus verse this week reminds us of all that God does provide for our necessities and there is ”More to follow” for only the cost of obedience.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NLT)

Necessities of Life – From Greed to Needs

God provides us with so very much. He richly supplies our lives sometimes with needs we didn’t know we had. We can see that by looking closer at the necessities of life in the three category areas of financial, emotional, and spiritual realms that God provides for us on the continued model of “more to follow” and separates out our greed’s from our needs. This trusted covenant begins with our attitude towards life by trusting Christ fully and being satisfied with the provisions we receive. We can begin our obedience to God with our trust in Christ. If we fully place our trust in Christ then we can say with strong assurance Psalm 23:1;

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. (NLT)

If we truly believe this then we will find our needs fulfilled even financially. We first however must separate our wants from our real necessities and then trust that God will provide as He promises. We will find this promise in 2 Corinthians 9: 8;

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. (NLT)

God does provide what we need in the financial necessities of life through one source or another. There is a rather funny story I came across that illustrates just this point.

A wonderful, elderly, Christian woman named Amelia had very little money and lived in a rundown house, but she was always praising the Lord. She had no problems except the old man who lived next door. He was always trying to prove to her that God did not exist.

One day, as the old man was walking by her house, he noticed the woman through an open window. She was kneeling down in prayer, so he crept over to the window to see if he could hear what she was saying. She was praying, “Lord you’ve always given me what I’ve needed. And now you know that I don’t have any money, and I am completely out of groceries. You know dear Lord that I will not get another check for a week.” She took a deep breath before she continued, “But somehow, Lord can you get me some groceries?”

The old man had heard all he needed. He crept away from the window and ran down to the grocery store. He bought milk, bread, butter, eggs, and meat. He ran back to Amelia’s house carrying the groceries. He set the bag down by her door, rang the doorbell, and hid alongside of the house in the shrubs.

Amelia came to the door peering out and saw the bag of groceries sitting by her door. She threw her hands in the air and began praising the Lord. “Thank you Jesus”, she shouted. “I was without food and you provided groceries.”

Upon hearing this, the old man jumped out of the shrubs to make sure he received the credit for purchasing the groceries. “I have you now”, he said. Amelia was too busy however shouting thank you to Jesus to pay any attention to the old man.

The old man became indigent now shouting, “I told you there is no God, it wasn’t Jesus who gave you those groceries it was me!”

Amelia looked right at him and said, “Oh no, Jesus got me the groceries and He made the devil pay for them.”

Amelia had the right attitude for God. Our attitude in life and our trust in God will provide the financial necessities of life. He will also provide the necessities of life we need emotionally if we allow Him.

When I think about the emotional necessities that God can provide the one that come to the top of my list is peace. Christ tells us in John 14: 27 that He is leaving us with the gift of peace of mind and heart. The Holy Spirit’s work of a deep and ever lasting peace is ours for the asking. This is the peace of assurance in any circumstances we may face for with it we have no need to fear the present or the future. Paul reiterates this again in Philippians 4:6-7. This peace does not come from positive thinking; this peace comes only from knowing God is in control. We have a life in Christ’s Kingdom, sealed is our future, and we can have victory over sin. Our trust and belief will allow God’s peace to guard our heart against anxiety. All we have to do is ask and we will find granted that part of the wonderful provision on the emotional necessities of life. God doesn’t stop here though as He also gives us the necessities of life through spiritual means.

The spiritual necessities of life in this area that God gives us first and foremost is eternity. This necessity is the everlasting life we have with Him. The great American evangelist of the last century, D.L. Moody, quotes St. Paul’s words in this way by comparing His gift to a bank check.

“My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19) Here is a bank check;

The bank firm is “My God”;

The promise, “shall supply”;

The amount, “all you need”

The capital, “His riches;

The address of the bank, “in glory”

The signature, “Christ Jesus”

Is there a catch? Yes, the check must be endorsed by the person to whom it is payable to; us. The spiritual necessities of life are already met and paid in full. We just have to accept and endorse the check.

God does meet all of our life necessities with full gusto in many areas but if we sum them up into the three realms of financial, emotional, and spiritual areas we can clearly see that God will meet and supply all our needs. Why would we want to depend on anything else?

I will leave you with a closing story out of New Zealand to fully cement this thought.

A boy went to the local store with his mother. The shop owner, a kindly man, passed him a large jar of suckers and invited him to help himself to a handful.

Uncharacteristically, the boy held back. So the shop owner pulled out a large handful of suckers for him.

When the boy and his mother reached outside of the store, his mother asked why he had suddenly been so shy and wouldn’t take a handful of suckers when offered.

The boy simply replied, “Because his hand is much bigger than mine!”

We need to ask and allow God to reach down to us giving us the true necessities of life in the hand that is much bigger than ours. The choice is ours we can choose limited greed’s or we can choose abundance in needs.

Have a great week placing your trust fully in His hands.

Love in Christ,

E.J.

What are Your Thoughts? Join Us in Discussion.

Have you ever found your wants taking over your needs? Do you have a hard time with greed? Has God touched your life meeting your true necessities of life? Join us in discussion on the necessities of life given by God or other related topics.      

How God is working through your life?