“Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:31-33) .
When it comes to the “necessities” of life, we usually think about the physical needs. We need food and water for bodily energy and sustenance. We need clothing to keep us warm and covered. We need a roof over our heads to escape the elements. Food, clothing, and shelter—if we have those three things, we’re probably going to be okay.
Jesus addresses two of those three in the Sermon on the Mount, saying, “Don’t worry about food and clothing. Your Father in heaven knows that you need them and he will provide them without fail if you’ll seek His kingdom first.” While there are people in the world who lack these basic needs, our little community of faith at Southern Hills has an abundance of food and clothing.
Jesus, a man with “no place to lay his head”, was not quite so committed when it comes to shelter. I wonder what Jesus and his little band of men did to avoid thunderstorms and the oppressive heat of summer in Israel. It seems that they spent a lot of time “camping out” under shade trees. When real shelter was necessary, it seems they always had a house in which to stay.
But there are deeper needs, too — emotional needs for which we long. I believe the two deepest needs we have as human beings are 1) a need to be loved unconditionally, and 2) a need for significance.
It’s really hard to find someone who will love us unconditionally—to love us “come what may”… to stick by us “warts and all”. Our divorce rate in America proves this. We might find someone who will commit for a while. But when the going gets tough, the commitment is tested and many, if not most, bolt for greener pastures. This is why we should hold up legacy marriages in the church as something to strive for. Unconditional love is possible, even if it is unlikely.
You are loved unconditionally. Your life is significant and valuable. God says so.
And what of our need for significance? We all need a reason to get up in the morning, whether it’s to go to an important job or to get the kids fed and off to school. We want to believe that what we do matters to someone, that somehow we make a little bit of a difference in someone else’s life. We need to feel that we have value, that our life is worth something.
The problem is, we often look in all the wrong places to find unconditional love and significance. People will almost always let us down.
I don’t know Harvey Weinstein. He has a lot of money and wields a lot of power in Hollywood. I’m sure that he believes his life matters, that his existence on the planet makes the world a better place. I’ve read of all the millions he has helped raise for charities and causes. He has launched and sustained the careers of many actors and politicians using his influence, money, and power.
But I have to wonder if TODAY anyone in the world loves Harvey Weinstein unconditionally. I read last night that his wife has left him. None of those young women with whom he had backroom encounters or one-night-stands has any emotional connection to him nor he for them. Any connection at all was based only on their need for stardom or “the next great role” and his need to be sexually dominant and powerful. Even his male “friends” have deserted him.
I wish Harvey Weinstein the best. I hope he’s able to find help and to turn his life around. I wish the same thing for Tiger Woods. And Anthony Weiner. And Bill Clinton. And Roger Ailes. And Bill O’Reilly.
But this I strongly believe: NONE of them will ever turn their lives around without first turning to God. And here’s the reason. Only God can fulfill our deepest needs for unconditional love and significance.
Satan’s great lie, the foundation of all sin, is: “God is holding something back from you … something that you need. You’ll have to fulfill that need on your own apart from God.”
This is the lie of Eden’s serpent and the lie that continues to fuel our carnal desires for power, sex, and greed.
The truth is, God takes care of all our needs. He has proven his unconditional love for us by giving His only begotten Son to die as the blood sacrifice for our sins (Romans 5:8). God did this so we could have a relationship with Him. And God will never stop loving us no matter what we do, say, or think. He loves us unconditionally. And His will for us is that we would not perish, but come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
What about significance? Worth is defined by what someone is willing to pay. Scripture says that your soul is worth more than the whole world (Mark 8:36)! What “currency” did God use to redeem your soul? Silver, gold, or American greenbacks? No. He redeemed you from your dead-end way of life with the precious blood of His Son (1 Peter 1:18-19). That’s how much you’re worth to him. You were created in the image of God and He paid plenty to redeem you as His own.
You are loved unconditionally.
Your life is significant and valuable.
God says so. And that’s the Truth.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).