Last night at Winter Jam I heard a band play a song called "All I Need." As they were singing that God is all they need, I thought.. really? Is God REALLY all you need? If you were standing out on the street outside this building and you had nothing but God... no money, no food, no clothes, no nothing... would you REALLY be okay?
Last week I heard about something unique that's going on online. A humanitarian organization in New York City bought prepaid cell phones for three homeless men and set them up to use Twitter - the idea is that they can tweet about what's going on in their lives and raise awareness of what homelessness is like. You can read their tweets here if you like. These three guys count things as victories that I, and you too if you have a place to sleep at night, don't think twice about. If you've never done a dance of joy to learn that you managed to be selected to get to sleep on a bed, or if you've never had to know which shelters are "safe" to sleep in and which ones might not be, or if a hot meal has never been a highlight of your week, then reading some of the things they tweet might be a bit of a shock. And every once in a while, one of these guys mentions his faith in God! I don't know if they are Christian believers or not, but assuming some or all of them are, they've got God, but they have some other quite pressing needs. "All they need?" Not exactly!
Do you ever pray? I hope you do. When you pray, do you ask for things? Most people do, and that is of course a valid reason to pray. When I pray, I ask for wisdom raising my kids and wisdom in my marriage, or I ask for health if I'm sick, or I ask for favorable results in a financial situation, or whatever. I ask God for stuff. I need that stuff. I may already have more than those homeless guys... I've got a house, a job, meals, even a car. I have a terrific church and a beautiful wife. I've got two great kids. I even have luxuries like cable TV, a video game console, and Internet right in my house. And yet, I still have needs. Is God "all I need?" Apparently not!
King Solomon had everything a person could ever want. He was celebrated for his wisdom, and he was also fabulously rich. He had homes, servants, food, drink, sex... anything he wanted, he could have, immediately. And yet he wrote over and over in the book of Ecclesiastes that it was all like a puff of smoke that is there and then it's gone. Solomon concluded that the only thing we can do in this life that matters is to "fear God and keep his commandments".
And I think there we've approached the crux of the matter. Solomon needed nothing. He had everything... and yet he found that there was something he did not yet have: a proper relationship with God. You can't buy that. It can't be given to you as a gift from another person. You can't inherit it or be born with it. And yet, we all need it desperately.
God is not all that you need. But you know what? God is all that you need that you can't get for yourself. You can live your whole life apart from God if you so choose, and if you do, it's possible that you will live for many healthy years. You may have a wonderful family and love them all very much. You may be financially stable, or even well-off. Your career might be stellar, and then you might retire and live many years in comfort. But no matter what you manage to accomplish for yourself in this life, it's not enough. There's something you need that you can't earn and you can't buy. That thing is only obtained one way: through Jesus. In the process of chasing after things that look good in this life, don't miss out on the one thing that you truly do need!