Contentment: Want or Need?
by Cheryl S.
from Virtuous Daughters, November 2004~Volume 4, Number 8
Darling Virtuous Daughters,
Let’s first try to discern wants from needs. Here is a partial definition in our dictionary of them both: 1. Want-to desire greatly; wish. 2. Need- a lack of something necessary. Looking at these definitions we see that a want is a desire, while a need is a necessity. It is apparent that we may not even want what we need. It is also apparent that we may not even need what we want. Does that confuse you? Let’s consider both of these situations:
You may not want to share a room with a sibling, but you know you need to.
You may not need a new pair of shoes, but you really want them.
Girls, I know that most of you understand the difference between the two words, but let’s go to the Word itself to see what it says. I challenge you, also, to do a study on needs and wants using your Bible concordance.
Verses on need:
Verses on want:
I think we can learn two comforting truths from these passages of Scripture: 1. The Lord takes care of our needs. 2. We do not need to want. (confusing?) What I mean is that, #1 we can trust the Lord to provide any need we have, and #2 we don’t really have to want anything (besides our Lord Jesus). I hope this helps you see the difference between the two commonly used words.
Remember, girls, that wants are so fleeting. What you feel you have to have one day, is usually gone with time. Next time you say to someone (or yourself), “I really need a …” think about it. Is it really a need, or just a want?
Next, girls, I would like to give some practical pointers that I have done, or our family has done, that has helped us with the “wants”. Now I share this with you only to give you ideas. But please understand that your family might do things totally different. These are just “tips” to ponder.
I truly do not like catalogs! For several reasons. For one, I don’t have time to look at them. If I spend 20 minutes looking at a catalog, I know that I’ve lost 20 minutes doing something much more valuable. But I also learned a long time ago that they only cause me to covet something I don’t have. Almost every time I looked at a catalog, I did not even have a specific item in mind- I was just looking. So now, if a catalog comes in our mailbox, I try to get our name taken off of their list. Or, if it’s a catalog that I know we will need in time, I don’t look at it until I am ready to order. Then I look specifically for the item I will be buying.
I basically do the same things with sales ads. When they come on Wednesdays, I throw away the ones to the stores that I know I do not shop at, and the stores I do shop at I put away in our cupboard. If during that week, I am going grocery shopping or to Wal-mart, I then pull out the ads and see if they have what I am going to buy on sale. I try not to buy other items on sale unless they are items we frequently use. In the past I have gone to the grocery store using an ad and because I poured through the ad, I came home with a bunch of junk food that we definitely did not need! It may have looked good in the ad, but it definitely did nothing good to our bodies or budget.
Now in our family, my husband does everything involving our finances. He earns all of the income, he pays the bills, he goes to the bank, he makes all of the decisions on our spending and budgeting, and so forth. But I also know that in many homes, the husband delegates some of those responsibilities to his wife. She might need to pay the bills and go to the bank, as well as faithfully budget their finances. So, you might want to start practicing budgeting your money now. I realize that most of you don’t have a set income, but even birthday money can be budgeted. This also will help you discern the needs from the wants. Your parents would be a great help in this area. Seek their counsel.
Girls, I know most of you are too young to borrow money, but it doesn’t hurt to think about the future. I’m sure most of you know about credit cards. That wonderful piece of plastic that gives you unlimited things. Really? No, actually, for our family it only enslaved us. That helped us make the decision years ago to get rid of that little piece of plastic. (Again, this is what our family did, but I know several families that use credit cards and pay them off every month.) Well for us, we made a commitment to not borrow money again. And did you know that by not having a credit card, we have not missed anything. Anything! Oh, sure, we have wanted things that we didn’t get, because we didn’t have the money. But the “want” never lasted. And our check card from our bank works just like a credit card any where we go, except the money is withdrawn right then, so we can even order over the phone if we want to. Making the commitment to not borrow money has been such a blessing to our family. When we see something we want, if we don’t have the money for it, we can’t get it right then. So this forces us to think about it for a while. If it’s only a want, we often stop wanting it over time. God has supplied all our need. We have lacked for nothing!
Girls, I hope these tips helped in some way. May the Lord ever be with you and give you counsel as you seek to discern wants from needs.
Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
Comments are closed.
The Article Library
This "Library" contains articles that were published in previous issues of Virtuous Daughters. It will keep growing as we continue to upload articles from the 20 years of printing. We pray they are an encouragement to you!