About Needs

DSCN1000    Recently, I’ve had at least three conversations about needs.
What is a need?
What are the things we need?
What is the difference between needs and wants?
What needs are really real.
One conversation was in class. I was leading a discussion about Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. A system of thought that conceptualizes needs as a pyramid. Physiological needs at the foundation, needs for safety, belonging and self-esteem in the middle, self-actualization and self-transcendence at the top. The final stages being Humanist efforts to explore what we Christians call Peace with God, Salvation, Living out God’s Purposes for our lives.
Other conversations were exploring what the most important needs are.
If I have food, water and shelter, do I really need anything else?
Because I have the basics (pretty much) guaranteed, does that free me up to be aware of other things?
The most important needs are the Spiritual ones, the Ultimate ones, those needs that drive us closer to our Creator and Savior. But if the rest of my life is chaos, can I really truly comprehend the Lord?
A further question is how to respond to the needs of others. This is an especially important question for Christians to address. We say, rightly so, that the deepest need of a person is spiritual, and we’ll try to meet that need. This is why we evangelize and try to tell people our Gospel, our Truth, and why we think they need to believe what we believe.
But if that’s all we do, and we ignore the other needs, the needs for food, water, shelter, safety, belonging and purpose…have we really cared for the person? I don’t think so. And in some ways, I think we may end up harming the person. If the only needs we address are the spiritual ones, then we demonstrate that the Spiritual world has nothing to do with the Physical world…and that is not the case.
I’m particularly intrigued by this question as pertaining to social justice. My theology says a person’s deepest need is for close relationship with Jesus. My theology also says that those that believe in Jesus are part of the Kingdom; and eternal and good realm other than this great ol’ earth spinning through the sky.
If then, the Kingdom is the ultimate…to what degree does this tangible earth matter?
I think this Earth still matters. It matters because she houses the people of God, all the people that God has made. The world is where our needs are met, where are relationship are formed, where our souls do their explorations, where people can be built up and destroyed.
If we the Church are engaged with the world, engaged in society, and in ways hat are meaningful, relevant, and credible, if we speak the language of the world, then we can serve the Kingdom. But if we withdraw and invalidate the language and needs of the world, then we demonstrate that the Kingdom of God has nothing to do with the People of Earth. And that should not be the case.

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