What we really need…

21 Jun

With the impending release of the iPhone 4 and all of the fanatical slavering that typically accompanies a product release out of Cupertino, (and admittedly, my craving for one),  I have recently been thinking about the difference between my needs and my wants.

ZOMG!!! I NEEEEEEEED this! PLEEEEEEEASE!

3D Tvs, voice synced media and communications in our cars, the ability to now do almost everything either online or via our mobile phones, “on demand” everything–I have absolutely been seduced into following all of these incredible advances in technology and convenience.   I mean, seriously, what did we do before DVRs?

But guess what?  At the end of the day, even with all of those bright, shiny objects and wonderful technology, I still feel like something is missing.  It seems that no matter how advanced my gadgets may be, or the convenience my belongings confer, there is something more profound, something intensely spiritual, that they simply cannot even begin to provide.  I need something, and my stuff cannot give me what I need.

As I was re-reading my copy of The Rule of St. Benedict, I stumbled across the following statement in the preface (by Thomas Moore, who has authored several books on “rubber meets the road” spiritual living): “The monk is not an anachronism, nor is The Rule of Saint Benedict antique and irrelevant.  It is modern life, rather, that is not in accord with the fundamental needs of the human heart.  From the viewpoint of the human soul, our modern style of living is the irrelevancy.”

Maybe, in our search for  what we believe to be “the good life,” we are neglecting what our souls truly crave.  It is easy for us to consider the ancient faith,  rituals, and traditions of the Church outmoded, irrelevant.  To be fair, as they find their expression in our local churches in 2010, they might be to some extent.  But, at the core of that ancient faith is something that we need.  Maybe we continue to seek more wealth, shinier toys, and greater gadgetry because we know deep in our hearts that what we possess will not confer any value or meaning on our lives.  If it were enough, we would be satisfied, wouldn’t we?  But we are not.

What we really need, what can fill our lives with purpose, hope, and love, we already have: the love of an eternal God.  Steve Jobs did not create it, Wal Mart cannot package and sell it for less, and Intel holds no patents on it.  If we attend to that love, hope, and purpose, then we will find all that we need, and not just for ourselves–also, and maybe more importantly, for those around us, those in need, those who have been oppressed or ostracized.

When I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2002, the Iphone did not help me (it was not around yet), my nice new car did not satisfy me, and my custom build computer offered me no comfort.  However, my wife embraced me, my fellow seminary students and professors prayed for me, and my family (including my best friend Dan) walked with me through that time–God’s love, lived through the hands, feet, hearts, and minds of those who call themselves God’s children.  That was sufficient, that was what I needed.

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