I love the classic Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell song, “You’re All I Need To Get By”, it’s a song that speaks of a couples dedication and need for each other. Ashford and Simpson were talented writers, but as beautiful as this song is, I would hate for someone to think that I was the only thing they needed to get by in life; frankly that’s too much pressure. I don’t need someone depending on me emotionally for survival, no thanks!
I often hear people saying that all they need is Jesus, “Just give me Jesus”, “Jesus is all that I need” and other phrases of that sort. I’ve also read clichés and comments like these in one too many books. Christians tend to get all bent out of shape when I tell them that I need more than just Jesus. If you’re wondering what I would need more than Jesus here is my list:
Jesus is an important part of our spiritual lives as believers, but we need more than him in order to meet our most basic essentials for survival. Jesus never said that he was taking the place of what human beings need in order to survive on earth.
It’s easy to misread the gospels and incorrectly assume that Jesus wants us to believe that we don’t need the essentials of life when we have him in our lives, but he never alluded to that. What Jesus did tell us, was that we are not to worry about obtaining our daily needs. Worry never leads to anything good. Worry leads to heart attacks, increased risks of stroke, stomach ulcers, muscle tensions leading to headaches and, various aches and pains.
Matthew 6: 27-34 is where Jesus tells us not worry because God will provide for us and a reminder that worry doesn’t add any years to our lives. While worry doesn’t solve our problems, we can’t ignore them by assuming that God will provide our basic needs. The fact is, millions of people have died from starvation, the elements, and from not being able to breathe. Doing what needs to be done on a daily basis in order to meet our basic needs for living is not a sign of worry or a lack of faith in God.
We are fortunate to live in North America where no child will have to die of starvation or malnourishment. Even the poorest person in the city can find an abandoned building or create makeshift shelter somewhere in the city. For those on the other side of the world it is not so easy for them to be told that they don’t need anything except Jesus to survive, because the falsehood of such a statement is real to them.
What I take from Jesus’ statement about worrying is that it is useless. He knows that worrying isn’t going to make a difference and he wants his followers to be aware of this. He wants his followers to turn from the wastefulness of worrying and instead, take that energy and focus on giving God our concerns and fears. By handing over our worries to God we able to focus more on finding a solution. Worrying doesn’t allow us to be calm enough to think clearly. The sad truth is that despite praying to God, despite trusting him to take care of our human needs, there is no guarantee that these essentials will be met and the worst that could happen, that being death, might actually happen.
Our worship of God is filled with paradoxes, things that might seem contradictory, and lots of asking ‘why God why’; but with each new day we have to continue to trust and have faith in God, allow the confusion, and accept the unknown. I don’t know what the answer is to ending war, world hunger, and injustice, and why God allows these to continue to happen, but I do know this; we need more than Jesus.
If the spirit of Christ is within us, we will see those around us who are in need, and in whatever way we can, we will help others. And for those who lack the essentials in life, we will continue to trust that God is good even when our basic needs are not met. Matthew 11: 28-30
Do you believe that Jesus is all that we need to survive? If not, what would be on your list of things that we need other than Jesus for survival?
How do you answer those who ask why God “allows” people to die at the hands of war, die of starvation, or other atrocities?
Read or watch the news this week, make note of when famine, starvation, lack of clean water, and war is mentioned. Take time to pray for their essential needs to be met.
During your time of prayer remember to bless the LORD for all the essentials for living that you have.