Bob Tamasy: Lots Of Wants, But Not Many Needs

Monday, December 23, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Years ago my family and I returned to Houston, Texas, where we lived for three years, to visit with family and old friends. I’ll always remember a former coworker’s answer when I asked how he, his wife and children were doing. “Well,” he said, “we have some wants, but we don’t have any needs.”

That was the first time I’d heard anyone express it that way, but it’s true for many of us. In our society, consumerism reigns, seeking to elevate our “wants” to the level of perceived needs. The more we get the merrier. We want a new smartphone, tablet or HD-TV, but we don’t need them. We go into stores and see the newest clothing styles on display, along with shoes, glitzy appliances and newly released CDs and DVDs. We want them – but don’t need them.

Being an admitted “bookaholic,” I have more books in my possession than I’ll probably ever read, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting more. I always seem to “need” more memorabilia and T-shirts for showing my avid support of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Millions of people in this world truly need things like food, clothing, a safe place to live, or a job. But anyone reading this is probably affluent enough not to be counted among them. A need is something that can bring disastrous consequences if it’s not met. We might feel we need a new bracelet, watch or pair of earrings, a new coat or shirt, but could it be just a want?

I don’t mean to sound like Scrooge as we approach the magical morning of Christmas, when many of us will exchange gifts with loved ones. It’s a happy tradition, hopefully a time when we can understand more fully why Jesus said it’s more blessed to give than to receive. At the same time, as we consider the true, bedrock meaning of Christmas – the commemoration of Christ’s birth – we would be wise to recognize He came not to fulfill our wants, but to meet our most foundational need.

Starting with Adam and Eve, mankind has had a problem: Severed from a right relationship with God because of disobedience and rebellion against His laws and standards for living. The Bible calls it “sin.” Throughout history, people have tried to remedy this through something called “religion” – rituals, traditions, rules, dogma, and institutionalism. It’s what someone has called, “man’s best effort to reach God.”

Unfortunately, feeble attempts by unholy people to earn the favor of a holy God are about as effective as attempting to swim the Pacific Ocean. Even a champion swimmer will cover only a small fraction of the distance before having to give up and fall woefully short of the goal. In the face of this futility, God instead chose to provide the remedy Himself, reaching down to mankind and offering redemption – reconciliation through Jesus.

At sporting events, on highway overpasses, billboards and even drink cups we sometimes see the inscription, John 3:16. It’s become commonplace enough that it might seem a cliché, but its meaning remains as profound as ever: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This was truly the first Christmas gift.

Another passage underscores this truth: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Think about it – when Jesus willingly went to the cross to serve as our atoning sacrifice, the payment for our sins, how many sins had you and I committed by that time? The answer, of course, is none. We hadn’t been born yet. But if we’re honest, we’ve more than made up for lost time since entering the world. That’s why 1 Peter 3:18 tells us, For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”

Unlike Old Testament sacrifices that were carried out daily by the Israelite priests, Jesus Christ’s sacrifice was once for all time – past, present and future.

So as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, visualizing the scene of a young mother, her betrothed husband and an infant lying in a makeshift cradle, let’s remember Jesus came to meet our deepest need – to become reconciled to God.

In our rebellious moments, we don’t even recognize that need. We want what we want, and if that’s contrary to God’s will, too bad. But Jesus didn’t come to appease our wants, our lust for having our own way. He came to fulfill the need we didn’t even know we had until He graciously revealed it to us. When images of Bethlehem come to your mind’s eye, don’t separate the cradle from the cross.

Merry Christmas!

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


World Restoration Center Church Hosts Back To School Bash

World Restoration Center Church, located at 4004 Dorris Street., will be hosting its 6th annual Back to School Bash/Community Health Fair. Free school supplies will be provided while supplies last. Activities will include TENNderCare well-child check-ups, vision screenings, resources on behavioral and learning barriers, HIV testing, food, games and much more. This event is ... (click for more)

Christians United For Israel To Host Pastors' Luncheon

The Northwest Georgia-Greater Chattanooga Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Planning Team invites area spiritual leaders to a Pastors’ Luncheon on Wednesday, Aug. 24 at noon at the Dalton Golf & Country Club.  An additional luncheon will be held on Thursday, Aug. 25 at noon at the Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Embassy Suites in Chattanooga to encourage Chattanooga area pastors. ... (click for more)

Man, 28, Shot And Killed In East Chattanooga

A 28-year-old man was shot and killed in East Chattanooga early Friday morning. The victim was identified as Jeremy Clark, a brother of House candidate Dennis Clark. Dennis Clark said, "Jeremy, a beloved son, my younger brother and dear friend to many, was taken from us too soon. The pain from our sudden and tragic loss is Indescribable. He was a compassionate and fun-loving ... (click for more)

Siedlecki Files Amended Financial Disclosure After GOP Files Complaint; Lists Personal Loan Rather Than In-Kind Contribution

Democratic assessor of property candidate Mark Siedlecki filed an amended financial disclosure form on Friday afternoon after county Republicans said he accepted far above the legal limit from a corporation he heads. The new disclosure said he made personal loans totaling $38,288 to the campaign. It does not include any in-kind contributions. The earlier forms listed ... (click for more)

Olympic Events On The Ocoee River Made History – But It Wasn’t Easy

It started with a simple “what if” question while Atlanta officials were working on a bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.  A group of amateur kayakers from the city began asking themselves: “What if Atlanta’s bid is successful? Then where would the Olympic whitewater canoe and kayak races be held?”  To some of the members of that group, the answer was obvious. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mr. Siedlecki, Sit Down!

This is a personal thing but one of my pet peeves is the little advertising stickers I sometimes find on the top of the front page of my newspaper. An editor at the newspaper has already determined a bit of news he or she feels I should read. And then the sticker covers it up so I have to peel it off before I can read “All the news that is fit to print.” As I groveled over my ... (click for more)