The danger of pursuing the unnecessary …

A store owner in Maine refused to buy a saleman’s wares.

“You have to understand, young fellow,” said the owner, “that in this part of the country every want ain’t a need.”

That’s a lesson many miss.

Are there things you want that you don’t need?


I don’t mean to imply that wanting something that isn’t a need is wrong, but it can become a problem if it’s value gets out of line in your life. Just think of how wanting something you don’t need can potentially interfere with your relationship with God.

Consider how wanting something you don’t need can possibly fester into something that literally diminishes or damages (or even destroys) your life. To want that which you don’t need is to stoke the fires of a constant yearning; that persistent yearning for the unneeded reduces contentment and peace, and draws away attention and resources for the unnecessary. Yet, most would refuse to live a life that didn’t routinely focus on the pursuit of wants.

Mark worked for the United States postal service as a mail carrier. He was married to an intelligent, beautiful, and lively woman, and had two healthy, energetic boys. They had a small home in beautiful northern California, a couple of cars, and an income to meet their needs, feed a simple savings account, and provide a few treats.

Mark had grown in his Christian faith and had come to the conclusion God was calling Him to vocational ministry. As Mark’s hunger for Christ grew, his wife’s hunger for things was growing, and that’s an appetite that couldn’t be fed on a pastor’s paycheck. She applied pressure, and won the argument. Mark did not pursue the ministry, but over the years he chased better paying employment. This family moved to a bigger home in a nicer neighborhood, bought cars, trucks, motorcycles, a boat and a place at the lake, They dressed better, went out more often, and even traveled a little. They fed their wants well.

The couple also divorced.

The decision to make their wants their primary focus resulted in taking the heart of their marriage — Jesus Christ — from center stage. Instead, wanting what they didn’t need became more important, which changed the dynamic of their relationship.

Eventually, Mark went off with the boys to live with a woman who would introduce him to drugs and the swinger lifestyle, and his ex-wife left the boys to Mark while she pursued the things a new man could provide for her.

Choosing to chase the things they wanted but didn’t need ruined this family.

It’s an ages-old story …

“6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 9 But
people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many
foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.
10 For
the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people,
craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves
with many sorrows,”
1 Timothy 6:6-10.

What are the things you want that you don’t need? Are these things draining your resources, your focus, your commitments elsewhere?