Need or Luxury?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25-34 that if we seek what He wants first in our lives, then He will provide for our needs. The question, though, is what are these “needs”? Well, it depends who you ask. 

In the United States, many of us would consider cable television a need. Perhaps those of us who are a bit more frugal can survive on Hulu and Netflix, but just pretty please don’t take away our internet or there will be trouble. People in third world countries would probably be a bit closer to the biblical answer, as they are working to provide shelter, food, and water to their families. And that is, of course, what I am most concerned about. As long as I can keep my family alive and healthy, we will be alright. Of course, it’s nice to be able to take my wife out to dinner and buy my daughter her favorite snacks (one of them is popcorn, and she eats it by the handfuls just like her daddy), but these are not needs; they are luxuries. 

But are the needs the Lord promises to provide for His followers always just the bare necessities? I think it depends. Notice I said “I think,” not “the Bible says”. Here is what I mean: If I believe the Lord wants me to spend my time writing Christian articles online, then I also believe He will provide me with a means of Internet and a computer. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I will have a MacBook to call my own and fiber optic internet, though. It might just mean that I get a public library card. 

A lot of us, myself included at times, have a very skewed idea of what a “need” is. Even those of us who recognize the difference between luxuries and needs sometimes get confused. This is where another word enters the scene: “convenience”. Conveniences often fit into a comfortable gray area where we are content to leave them. Keeping the same illustration, there is no doubt that it is difficult to live in the U.S. today with no internet access in our homes. Yet, we can survive without it. For the sake of simplicity, I like to eliminate the gray area of “conveniences” the best I can and just call things “necessities” and “luxuries”. Exercise is a necessity, but my home gym is a luxury. I can do a body weight program like Convict Conditioning if I need to. 

Finally, I am not saying that we should not have luxuries. But what I am saying is that we should allow them to increase our praise of the Lord even more, because this is yet another example of Him giving us far more than we deserve or even what He has promised to provide. 

What I want to emphasize here is this: the Lord will certainly supply you with what you need to accomplish what He wants you to do. That is what this verse means. And maybe, just maybe, we should start being more willing to be library people than MacBook people. 

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