Wanting what He doesn't need
Have you ever wanted something you did not need? On a purely basic level, I do that every day! I don't need chocolate, but I want to savor even one small piece. I certainly did not need those McDonald's French fries in between car shopping and getting groceries, but I really, really wanted them! On a selfish level, I don't need all of the clothes in my closest, but I have a terrible time deciding which ones really don't get worn often enough to keep. And I certainly don't need the shoes that pinch my toes or make my feet hurt, but haven't wanted to take the time to sort through them and give some away.
On an emotional level, I don't need to satisfy my every desire to be happy. I don't need to live by the ocean and have a view of mountains and beaches. I might want that, but I absolutely don't need it.
Humanly speaking there are a lot of things we want that we don't need. Advertising agencies have convinced us that we will never be happy if we don't have this car, that dress, those sunglasses, this vacation, that food, this cell phone, and on and on...until we think we need the whole world at our fingertips or we cannot possibly be happy. Yet the truth is, we don't need any of those things. We want them. But we could get by on a lot less than we have.
One thing we think we need above everything else (well, most of us do) is people. The extroverts among us crave people time. The introverts among us...well, we're okay with time alone too. But did you know that while we need people for community, what we really need is Jesus?
But would is surprise you to know that God doesn't need us?
Stop and think about that for a moment. Most gods of ancient times needed people. (Or people thought they did.) They needed temples to live in, food spread before them, men to carry them from place to place, sacrifices given to appease them. And people did all manner of atrocious things to please those gods because they thought they were fulfilling a need both for themselves (to get what they wanted) and their god (to make him or her happy).
Christians sometimes think God made us to make Him happy. I've heard it said that God was lonely, so He made us to keep Him company.
Did you know that is completely untrue?
Here are a couple of reasons why I say that:
Acts 17:24-25 says, "The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything."
And Psalm 50:10-12 tells us, "For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine."
God created everything, therefore He also owns everything. (Makes sense.) He cannot be contained in a temple or house made with human hands. He is infinite. We are finite. He is outside of time. We are bound by time. He is bigger than we can begin to imagine.
Isaiah 40 has some great verses in it (worth reading the whole thing), but verse 12 says, "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?"
Have you ever tried to hold water in the palm of your hand? How did that work for you? It kind of spills all over the place for me. If I tried to scoop the water out of our bathtub with just my hands, it would take me hours and hours. Imagine being able to hold the Pacific or the Atlantic in your palm? I wonder if that's how God dried up the Jordan or the Red Sea. Just put a hand out and held the waves in place.
So if God is that big and has no needs because He owns everything, He made everything, why bother to make us? Why are we here if it wasn't to keep Him company? He already had the company of Himself in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
So then, why?
To love us.
John 3:16 reminds us, "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life."
To quote Bruce Ware, Professor of Christian Theology at Southern Seminary in Kentucky (who spoke at our church this morning some of these very thoughts),
"...His purpose in creating and redeeming us is not that we might fill up some lack in Him, but that He might fill us up with Himself. He made us empty to be filled with his fullness, thirsty to drink of the water of life, weak to receive His strength, foolish to be instructed and correct by His wisdom. In his love, He longs to give, to share the bounty. He wants us to experience in finite measure the fulness of joy and blessing that He knows infinitely--all to redound to the praise and glory of His name, the Giver and Provider of all the good we enjoy."
God does not need us.
But He wants us.
And He wants us for far better reasons than I wanted McDonald's French fries yesterday or a caramel latte at lunch today. He wants to love us infinitely, far better than we have ever known love.
All we have ever needed or even wanted without realizing it, is Him.
People everywhere desperately need Jesus.
And God may not need us to complete some lack in Him, but He desperately wants us to be His.
Is there any love more perfect than that?