Do you have needs? Don’t we all? Psychologists sometimes use a drawing of a pyramid to describe all the needs we have. (I’m referring to the hierarchy of needs developed by Abraham Maslow.) They place the most basic needs at the bottom of the pyramid – things like food, water, and air. Above that they put safety, security, and health. The pyramid continues to build with needs that don’t seem as vital near the top. Eventually you get to the need for “self-actualization” . . . and perhaps the need for a double hot fudge sundae. The point of the pyramid is that you will try to fill the most basic needs first. For example, your safety is a more basic need than ice cream so if you are in a burning building you probably are not going to be thinking “I would really like a hot fudge sundae about now!”
What is your most basic need? We all need food, water and shelter, but there is a need even more basic than those – we need a good relationship with God. What good is anything else if we do not enjoy eternity with our creator? It doesn’t matter how many hot fudge sundaes you might enjoy in your life (or whatever other pleasures you might enjoy). What do they amount to if you spend an eternity of suffering because of your broken relationship with God?
The problem is that we mess up that relationship every time we disobey one of his commands. It happens daily! That is why our most basic need is to hear God tell us that he has repaired our relationship with him. Our greatest joy is hearing our Creator say, “I love you and I forgive you in Jesus Christ.” To hear that Jesus took away our sin when he died on the cross is our most basic need. It is our only need. Do you remember what Jesus told Martha about listening to God’s Word? It is the “one thing needed.”
Do we think of God’s Word as more important than food, water, or even air? I pray that you will never be forced to choose between God’s Word and your next breath, but some have made that choice. (Christians in the early church were sometimes told they must worship Caesar or be executed. Many literally forfeited their “next breath” to hold on to God’s Word.) As we consider all the things in our life that we think we “need”, do we treat God’s Word as that most basic of needs? In fact, our only need? It is difficult, isn’t it.
If you confess, as do I, that you have not treated God’s Word as the “one thing needed”, then let me share with you again that most basic of human needs – “As a called servant of Christ and by his authority, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Through Christ, you have a good and right relationship with your creator.