It is easy to dislike anyone who openly admits that they do what they do to get what they want and yet if you change one word you turn what would be considered a selfish declaration into a statement of self-preservation. Replacing the word “want” with the word “need” substantially alters what people will assume about the person who made the statement, but does it really change anything?
In a world full of options it is tough to determine what is truly optional.
What I want and what I need should be the difference between what is optional and what is necessary in life, but in a world that has trouble telling the two apart, what I want has become what I need. Before I look like a granola eating, tree hugging, anti-everything that burns fossil fuels type of guy who complains that the wants of mankind have destroyed the earth, let me say, “the wants of mankind have destroyed the earth!” I like my granola with lots of maple syrup and milk. I love trees, both in the natural form and in my printer or as a part of the construction material in my house and my furniture. Warmth from my natural gas furnace and travel in my gasoline powered car make my life more enjoyable. I am not sure in my country and culture which of these things are wants and which are needs. I have always had access to them so for me they are necessary because they have always been there. Which material things are wants and which are needs can be very subjective. What is not subjective is that mankind’s pursuit of what we want has destroyed the relationship we were designed to have with the One we need. Not placing our faith in God is why mankind has destroyed the earth – at least the way God created the earth to be.
Faith in God is not optional, it’s what we need.
For Christ followers, myself included, who from time to time participate in destroying the way God created the earth to be, this statement can’t be repeated enough. What we want and what we need are merged by a tangled mess of biblical ideas mixed with worldly interpretations, seen through the lens of sinful desires. What should be a life built on faith in the transformative power of God is instead a life built on doing things that we believe will make God happy based on what would make us happy if we were God. The simplicity of God’s plan that addresses what we need, becomes considerably more difficult as we create a plan based around what we would want. We need to place our faith in God but it is easy to place our faith in our works as if they somehow will lead to faith in God.
Faith without works is dead – works without faith is a waste of time.
I do what I do to get what I want = I work hard to get into God’s good books and avoid Hell
I do what I do to get what I need = I put my faith in God and He assigns me work in His perfect plan