By Ps. Jerry
Today, we look at Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. According to Maslow, man’s primary concern and motivation is to meet his Physiological (physical) needs, namely food, water, sleep and shelter. The next level in the hierarchy is the need for Security, which includes your finances, your job and your health. Then it moves up to the need to Belong or as Anthony Robbins states, it’s the need for significance – to be in relationships or be a part of something more than yourself, to be part of a community. This is followed by Self Esteem, where he seeks higher values, to be skilled or successful in something and to have a sense of achievement. Finally, it is Self-Actualization which means becoming congruent and reaching your maximum potential. Some call it enlightenment. The world has adopted this model of the hierarchy of man’s needs. Even the Christian world is beginning to accept and believe it. For example, it is now said that there is no point in bringing the Gospel to certain people groups, instead, give them food, clothing and shelter first, make sure their basic needs are met before you share the gospel. This sounds logical, but what is God’s way? What does God say of man’s true hierarchy of needs?
Firstly, recognize what is said in Isaiah 55:8-9: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways”, declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” What is God saying? Are God’s ways and His thoughts higher than ours, higher than Abraham Maslow’s and higher than man’s? Yes, definitely! We know that for certain. You notice a golden thread going through the fabric of the way God thinks and the way He does things. It has to do with having faith and the condition of your heart. His ways always require you and I to exercise faith with the proper attitude. That seems to be the golden thread. His way is rooted in faith. So, you must have faith to think like God and to follow God’s ways.
Jesus tells us God’s hierarchy of man’s needs in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you”. It’s amazing isn’t it? He states the priority is, first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all these things shall be added unto you. This is God’s priority. This is God’s hierarchy for man! This is the way God thinks. This is God’s way! What “things” were Jesus referring to when He said “all these things”? We have to read in context and look at the verses just before that.
Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink. Nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valued than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubic to his stature? So, why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now, if God clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith. Therefore, do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat’ or ‘What shall we drink’ or ‘What shall we wear?’. For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:25-33)
Jesus is talking about food, drink and clothing. And he is saying in that context, seek first the Kingdom of God. That is God’s way! Jesus even said, do not worry about life as a whole (Matthew 6:25). Instead, this should be your concern – the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. And when we do that, He promises us that all these things, (and He knows you need them), will be provided for you. It will be added to you. But, do we have faith? Do we believe Jesus? He said, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Jesus also said, for after all these things the Gentiles (pagans) seek. So, the world and the pagans say that is the priority in life – first, you seek your security. As for God’s kingdom or His righteousness, we can do later. But God says no, it is the other way around!
So, in the context of missions, did God say, go ye into the world and give clothing, food and drink and help people? No, He said, go ye into all the world and preach the good news, preach the Gospel. It doesn’t mean we don’t provide for the physical needs of the poor or destitute, but it’s a question of priority – God’s priority! God’s hierarchy of man’s needs! It is Jesus and the Gospel first, the preaching of His Kingdom and His righteousness first. Spiritual first, then only the physical! That is what Jesus says. That is the way of God!
You see, the condition of your heart determines how you perceive things, how you read and see things. Even with the scriptures, two people can read and hear the same thing but believe and act differently, sometimes even in direct contradiction to each other. We may read the Word in the context of our background, our fears and anxiety, and also in the context of our persuasion. Sometimes in our lives, there are adverse consequences that cause us to read and understand the scriptures wrongly. So, when you are reading the scriptures and you are trying to understand the ways of God, check the condition of your heart.This is to ensure that you hear correctly and see correctly. This is so important. If the Word says to put God first, you have to put Him first in everything, not just in certain areas but in every aspect of your life if you want to see Him effectively impact your life. If you commit to this route, you will see tremendous changes and blessings in your life!