Needed vs. Wanted
It’s good to be needed. It means you have value and benefit to someone else, though this shouldn’t be the only basis of your relationship with them. Relationships that are totally or mostly founded on “my needs” being met are selfish and/or purely self-serving. This is closer to lust than love, which is selfless and serving rather than selfish and demanding. A relationship that is dependent on “my needs” continually being met is typically short-lived (who wants to be with a selfish person?), and ultimately unfulfilling (selfish greed tends to never be satisfied). Still yet, most of us want to be needed because it provides a pleasing sense of self-worth in and through the relationship.
But as with most things, too much of a good thing usually and quickly turns bad. Who wants to be with someone who is too “needy” or dependent? Relationships are mutual; that is, they are supposed to be beneficial to both parties. This is true of “needs” also. If one person is “needy” and the other one’s needs are overshadowed and left unfulfilled, the relationship is doomed to failure.
We’ll come back to being “needed” momentarily, but now let’s consider being “wanted.” Being wanted is attractive, because while everyone needs to be needed, perhaps we want even more to be wanted. To have our presence desired not just to fulfill some need but to simply enjoy is gratifying because we like to be liked and want to be wanted. Fulfilling needs is necessary to the recipient and can be beneficial to the provider as well, but is somewhat utilitarian. Whereas fulfilling “wants” is extremely gratifying to both recipient and provider. It’s the difference between getting socks or candy as a gift!
Now that we have all these things before us, let’s think about our relationship with God…
- We obviously “need” God, for “in Him we live and move and exist,” Acts 17:28a;
- He knows what we “need” even before we ask Him, Matt.6:8b; and,
- He enjoys meeting our “needs” as the Giver of “every good thing… and every perfect gift,” Jas.1:17a.
But ask yourself a few questions about our “needs” relative to our relationship to/with God:
- “Is my relationship with God based solely on His meeting my ‘needs’”?
- “What happens to my relationship with Him when what I think I ‘need’ from God is, in His wisdom, not provided?” cf. 2Cor.12:7-10
- “Is my relationship with God in any way ‘mutually beneficial,’ or is it just all about ‘me’?” cf. Eph.5:7-10
We know we are “wanted” by God because passages such as John 3:16 and Rom.5:8-10 make such abundantly clear. But here’s the question: Is God “wanted” by us, or just “needed”? Do we really “want” to be with and like Him, or do we just “need” Him to meet our “needs”? One is selfless love, and the other is just selfish lust. Which is it for you? At the risk of making God in man’s image, don’t you think God would prefer to be “wanted” by us instead of just being “needed”?