What Do You Need? Really…

5  “These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, nor two tunics nor sandals nor a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.” – Matthew 10:5-10 (ESV)

I do not pack light.  When we travel, I lug as much reading and writing material as I can.  In fact, come to think of it, I do not pack light when I go anywhere.  I always want to be ready if and when the opportunity to write or study comes along.  So I lug a lot of stuff around.

Our lives are like that, aren’t they?  We tend to lug a lot of stuff – much of it junk – around with us, everywhere we go.  I read Matthew 10 and I think, “What??  Go out in the desert and walk from village to village with no money, no extra clothes, not even a walking stick?”  If I leave the house without my cell phone, I practically break out in hives.  But… no wallet?  C’mon, Jesus… what are you up to?

Let me ask you: what do you need?  I mean really, really need.  There was a time when I would have said, “Cable TV.  We gotta have cable.  What if a big storm comes up?  I need to protect my family, so I need to be able to watch the weather radar and see if a tornado is coming.  What if some big world event takes place?  I need to stay informed.  What if TBS runs a 24-hour Friends marathon?” 

OK… I could care less about the sitcom reruns.  But, think about it… if the storm is so big that the power goes out, there goes the cable.  If some world event occurs that is so massive we need to be alert, being glued to the tube isn’t the action.  Besides, what can I do sitting on my sofa, worrying and stewing about something I have no control over?

Bingo.  Therein lies the rub.  We all have worries aplenty.  What if we don’t have enough in our 401(k) to retire?  What if I can’t pay these medical bills?  What if my child doesn’t improve his behavior?  What if she can’t get into a good college?  What if our country goes over the “fiscal cliff”?  What if this job interview doesn’t pan out?  What if… what if… what if…  If we follow the trail of “what ifs” – the worries, the fears, the things that wake us up at 3am – we will often find our perceived needs.

Or, rather, our perceived lack.

Later, when Jesus was gathered with His disciples one last time, He reminded them of their first venture out as His apostles. 

35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” – Luke 22:35 (ESV)

What did they lack?  Nothing.  Did they eat five-star meals and stay in fine hotel suites?  No.  Did they go hungry?  No.  Were their needs met?  Absolutely.

The point Jesus is making is this: all His children need is Him.  The LORD is our sufficiency.  As Jesus told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness: (2 Cor. 12:9, ESV).  We lug around a lot of junk, and – time to get metaphorical – I don’t necessarily mean physical, tangible things (although most of us have way too much of that as well).  Memories, hurts and fears, scars from situations we have faced, sin, societal pressure, peer pressure, work pressure, disappointments, grudges… Some of us are like big, emotional pachyderms: an elephant never forgets.

We don’t necessarily need to forget.  But we do need to learn to lean on God’s grace.  We need to trust in the LORD, have enough faith in Jesus to know He cares for our every true need.  We need to develop a faith in Christ that carries us through this path of life that each of us walks.  And, as we meet one another where our roads intersect, we need to help one another.  Support one another.  Encourage one another.  Love one another.

Love one another.

Today, I want to challenge you to consider your needs.  Are they real needs, or deep desires masquerading as a “need”?  Is your head sore from beating against a stone wall trying to fulfill a “need” all on your own?  Is there a need in your life that is too big for the God of the Universe, the Creator and Sustainer of all, Existence Himself?  If Jesus can raise Lazarus from the grave after four days (remember, Lazarus stunketh)… indeed, if Jesus Christ Himself can endure the beating, scouring and crucifixion, only to rise again on the third day, overcoming death… do you suppose He can meet your needs? 

Do you suppose when Jesus says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt 6:33-34, ESV), maybe we should heed His Word?  He is no liar.  He is no deceiver.  Take God at His Word.  Trust Jesus.

The LORD is truly all we need.

(Postscript: By the way, we did ditch cable.  Well, we knocked it down to the basic local channels.  But we also bought a Roku.  Progress is sometimes very slow…)

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