Being Needed

Quotable Quote:

“Watch the need to be needed.”

J.I. Packer

J. I. Packer is one of my favorite spiritual authors, so I pay attention to what he writes. At first glance it seems innocent enough to want to be needed. After all, we want to believe that others count on us, that we’re important to them. And doesn’t being needed make our lives more significant? Being of a benefit to others is one thing, but what Packer is suggesting is that we have a problem when we need to be needed!

In the animal kingdom there are some creatures that play hosts to other organisms that depend on them for survival. These other organisms are called parasites. OK, maybe I’m coming up with an overly strong analogy here, but when we need to be needed are we not coming close to a parasitic relationship? If we need to be needed we are “needy” and that makes our motive a selfish one. Plus, no one, for long, wants to be around a needy person!

When we seek to be of help to others so that we feel needed we are not coming to them from a position of strength but one of weakness. If the other person is in the same situation of needing to be needed you have the proverbial co-dependency situation.

The ideal way of being a helpful person to others, or an organization, or a company, or a church, or whatever, is coming from a position of strength. This requires energy coming from outside the closed system of the human relationship(s). And this is where a relationship to the transcendent God comes into play. If our ultimate source of self-esteem, of value, of significance, of purpose, of calling, comes from a knowledge and response to His affection for us then we come to our human relationships from an amazing position of strength.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (Jesus in John 15:12)

“Watch the need to be needed.”


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