Sunday, July 15, 2018


Abraham Maslow (1943) posed a very famous theory of human motivation that contained a heirarchy of needs.  Maslow said that we tried to meet our physical needs (food, water, air, health), our security needs (shelter,safety, stability), our social needs (being loved, belonging, inclusion), our ego needs (power, influence, recognition, prestige) before we were motivated to meet the need of self-actualization (beauty, creativity).  Maslow's theory is required reading for the social sciences and for those pursuing higher education in many fields.

I have another theory about needs.  I believe God created us with desires, needs and instincts that are tied to the physical.  But I think there are other more powerful needs that relate to a statement from Ecclesiastes.  In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon writes "and God has placed eternity in our hearts."  I think this is related to how we were created.  God breathed life and spirit into us and placed in people something of the divine that longs for things beyond the physical.  Every society (even people who are dealing with infirmity and physical/mental limitations) seeks the spiritual.

Our problem is we try to fill our lives with the physical that we can see, touch, feel and manipulate.  All the while, I think God is pointing out the beauty, grace and wonder around us every day.  I wonder if we are getting more and more imbalanced in pursuing the physical world?

I ride my bicycle often.  When I ride on my indoor bike I don't really worry too much about being balanced because it would be difficult (though not impossible) to fall off.  My indoor bike is safe, effective,climate-controlled and I can watch TV when I ride there.  When I ride outside I must be more attuned to my surroundings.  I have to watch for cars.  I must keep tabs on the weather.  I can't be distracted by my devices.  And I must make sure I keep my weight balanced, for if I do not, I will fall.  And these days, I don't heal quite as fast from those events where "the road rises to meet me."

Maybe we can take this analogy into our daily life.  I think God wants me to be much more focused on the spiritual world.  Our society pushes us to the material and physical.  Catch this new show.  Watch this sporting event.  Check on your Facebook page and see if your are getting enough "likes."  Ride inside where it is safe and climate-controlled.  God is telling us, "come out of that world."  See the beauty of nature.  See the people around you.  Go to the Food Giant and experience the good and bad of interacting with your neighbors.  Jump into life instead of asking God to give you a safe, secure, antiseptic setting that will always be protected but dull.  Get your life into balance and you might just find life abundant!

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