Sometimes—especially in the weeks before Christmas—one of my kids and I engage in a friendly back-and-forth that goes something like this:
“Dad, I need a new iPod.”
“You need one?” I ask.
“Yes, absolutely. Desperately.”
“Why do you need one?”
“Because the one I’ve got is three years old, doesn’t have Siri, doesn’t have enough memory . . .”
“But why do you need it?”
At some point, usually about here, he sees the smile on my face and realizes I’m sorta messing with him.
“Okay, I don’t actually need it, but I really do want it.”
I’m picking on my kids, of course, but I’m just as guilty as they are.
Apple convinces me that my iPhone is so 2010, that my busy life practically demands the latest version.
Oh yes, I need it, I convince myself.
The automaker convinces me that an eight-year-old car that’s missing most of the latest bells and whistles is beneath me . . . I need something better, and now would be perfect (after all, low interest financing is always available . . .).
I doubt I’m alone here.
One of the drawbacks of living in a culture of prosperity is that we get terribly confused about the difference between needs and wants.
If you’re like me, you received a few gifts over the past week.
How many of them were genuine needs? Were any of them?
I got a few books that I plan to enjoy, but I could live without them.
I got another electronic gadget that I love, but I won’t be able to eat it, and it won’t give me shelter or keep me warm this winter.
I need God to remind me again of what Paul wrote as he neared the end of one of his letters (written from jail):
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen (Philippians 4:19-20).
Maybe you need that reminder too.
Don’t buy into the lies your culture is shouting at you.
We probably don’t really need much of what we think we do.
But the needs we actually have? The real ones?
God’s got them covered.