Want Versus Need
by Clarence W. Chadwick
The mighty discontent of the human race today lies in the fact that more time and attention have been paid to the thought of humanity’s wants than to its needs.
The most successful men and women are those who have learned to distinguish between human desire, and the need for the things of God.
The Master said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Had he come as a pleaser of men, he would have catered to their wants. He was, however, their best and truest friend because he could, and did, tell them of their needs. Those who were ready to hear called him blessed, while those who clung to their wants, controlled by pride and self-will, cried, “Crucify him.”
Judas Iscariot stands forth in history as a conspicuous type of the man of greed and want: he betrayed his Lord and Master for thirty pieces of silver. The mad rush for the accumulation of material wealth will do the same thing today, unless men awaken from their foolishness and realize their one and only need of seeking “first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.”
The desire for material things always leads thought away from God; but a recognition of our need always leads us back to our true supply in God. This fact is graphically portrayed in the experience of the prodigal son, who made a thorough test of the “I want” habit, and finally awakened from his daydream to find that he had been eating husks. It was then that he realized the need of returning to his father’s house and humbly admitting his mistake.
Another characteristic of the “want” thought is that it is almost always in trouble, as indicated in the story of Mary and Martha. The latter was “troubled about many things,” while her sister Mary, with a clear realization of the “one thing” needful, was sitting humbly at her Master’s feet, drinking in the sacred word of Truth.
The want-man of today imagines himself strongly entrenched in his accumulation of wealth, and, like a certain rich man spoken of in Scripture, he is tearing down his barns and building greater ones wherein to bestow all his fruits and goods, only to learn that his money can purchase everything except what he really needs — he cannot buy the truth.
Christian Science is not always immediately accepted by some people, because it crosses swords with worldly wants and aims and shows the necessity of learning obedience to the will of God. Mortal man, being a tyrant, wants his own way, and will naturally oppose the advance of Truth, until he begins to realize that it is his only salvation. He wants to be healed of disease, whereas his great need is to be healed of sin. He wants wealth and fame, when his real need is to get into a right relationship with God.
Christian Science teaches that God supplies our every need, but not our selfish wants. “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him,” said Jesus. If our prayers have not been answered, it is because they have been want-prayers, wherein we ask amiss. The needful prayer is one for wisdom and spiritual understanding to overcome sin in ourselves, and “to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”