Are you in need if your own choices created your lack? Are you in need if you have basics like food and shelter but no extras. If you've been the recipient of much help in the past does that disqualify you for more help?
What is real need? From a gospel point of view our greatest need is being saved from God's wrath. If you are a believer then your greatest need has been met in the cross of Christ. I think we can get caught up in what we don't have and forget this very important truth. On the other hand by God's mercy, we will all roll out of bed tomorrow and face whatever circumstances God has allowed. You may find yourself not wanting anything monetarily. Maybe you have just what you need or maybe you are wondering how to pay your bills and buy some groceries. The last six years or so has been a time where we lost much, needed lots of help and wondered many times where some basic needs would come from.
Our story is one of provision. God's provision of comfort, mercy and grace during the loss of our son Jonah who would be 5 1/2 right now. God cared for us during the next two losses in 2005 and 2007. He provided hope, peace and a place for my three babies to live forever, sinless and satisfied. I am so grateful for that.
During the last six years those have not been our only needs. The week after Jonah died my husband miraculously passed his examines and started to look for work. He was unemployed for many months. He found a job unrelated to all the time, effort and money he took to get his education. Grateful for that job he took it....though it didn't pay the bills. It has been like this till recently. My husband just six months ago started a job in his field that will hopefully grow to support us adequately. He still works two jobs and I now have one part-time job myself. We still struggle to pay the bills.
Why am I telling you all this? Like I said before, ours is a story of provision. As I look around my living room there are maybe two items that I purchased myself....the rest given to us...God's provision. The car in our driveway...God's provision. My children's mattress' and bed frames....God's provision. Did we work for those things....No! Do we deserve those things....No!
Again this year we are being blessed by people to help us through Christmas. Do my children need nice presents besides underwear and a new set of PJ's under the tree....no. Is it wrong to receive a blessing when you really could survive without it? The beauty of all this, is that God's provision comes through the body of Christ. He has laid his life down on the cross to meet my greatest need. In following that example, my church family has sacrificed for us to meet practical needs. Because of this we are okay and have what we need through God's perfect provision.....people. I long to be the giver. I know there are more ways to give then with resources and we strife to do that as a family but I long for the joy of being able to care in this way for others. It isn't a pay back....that's not possible. It is out of gratitude.
On the flip side I have seen pride in my heart. Part of my motivation to give comes from longing to be out of my circumstances. It's kinda selfish. I have also experienced judgement in this area. What constitutes a need? Do you or I determine where someone needs to be in order to be in need? In our culture there is this underlying deception that if we can sustain ourselves and stand completely independent of others, we are okay and maybe worth more. My experience has taught me just the opposite. Depending brings with it blessings untold. Depending on God and each other no matter how uncomfortable it might be at times.
We are blessed this Christmas by God's perfect provision in his son, born in a humble stable, as well as, by those sinners he came to save.