You're So Needy
One famous description of Jesus calls him “God’s everything for humanity’s total need.” *
That is quite the comprehensive job description! It’s humbling to think how vast our human needs are. It’s awesome to think that Jesus possesses everything to meet them, body and soul.
In the middle of the 20th-century, American psychologist Abraham Maslow introduced a “hierarchy” to categorize the depth and breadth of our neediness. At the foundational level are our physiological and security needs that if met, allow us to grow in awareness of our higher emotional and psychological needs. Simply put, if you don’t know where you’re going to sleep at night or where your next meal is coming from, you don’t have the luxury of worrying about whether or not your job is fulfilling. Here’s a visual of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
If Jesus is really “God’s everything for humanity’s total need,” it stands to reason that he would address each and every level of our neediness. I believe he does! During the season of Lent, our Sunday morning worship services will take account of how Jesus accomplished this in his earthly ministry.
- Jesus fed crowds of 4,000 and 5,000. He was concerned for their physical needs.
- Jesus’ miracles were the faith-based solutions for crises of safety and security.
- Jesus created the most amazing circle of relationships that conveyed genuine love and belonging.
- Jesus’ work on the cross was the ultimate accomplishment. He died to demonstrate that we are “worth it” to God.
- Finally, Jesus says that those who follow must receive him as the “bread of life” and “eat his flesh” and “drink his blood” in order to truly become themselves.
Jesus consciously addressed all of our needs! He routinely referred to the needs of those around him in terms of various forms of “hunger.” In 2020, most Americans have our basic Maslowian needs for food and shelter met. However, we have a contemporary crisis in terms of our hunger for “meaning and significance.”
This Sunday we’ll begin at the bottom of the pyramid. We have the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and be fed by Jesus himself.
I’m so grateful that we follow a path that is relentlessly honest about how we are what we need. Jesus’ way is not the way of repression, but of freedom as we bring the entirety of our humanity into his life giving presence.
Grace to you as the Lenten journey begins,
*RIchard Halverson, Presbyterian Pastor and Chaplain of the United States Senate