Sometimes our thoughts become dominated by what we want! We lose sight of what we actually need. There is a huge difference between the two. We might want more material possessions, experiences and opportunities. By contrast, God knows what we actually need.

Last Sunday Barry reminded us of Stewart’s encouragement to just stop between tasks, between all our rushing about, and recognise God’s role in the world and in our own individual lives.

Barry reminded us about the blessings of fellowshipping together, especially through Gathering, the Gospel, and Giving. These are things we need to build our characters in the way God wishes us to, to promote His message and to be a lightstand for the Gospel message.

In Acts 20 Paul commits the Ephesians to God and to the word of His grace: “which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
That is why these are the things we need. So much more valuable than what we often want.

Gathering: probably the area where we all have most room for improvement. Joining together and appreciating each other’s company meets a need we have, for the right focus in our lives. Maybe it pays to reflect how much effort a speaker makes preparing the topic for the gathering. All we need to do is turn up and receive one idea to make it worth our while attending!

Gospel: this is all about ministering to each other. Through grace we have a great reason for common fellowship, because we have such a great thing in common. And our fellowship, which is all about joint actions, and only uses words when necessary, will bind us together more strongly.

Giving: to each other and gracefully receiving too. Remember, it is more blessed to give than to receive. Here the emphasis is on giving as in sacrificing something out of love, as opposed to donating, which involves little real effort. Jesus knew the difference. His giving is the one thing that makes us know for certain that Jesus loves us – his sacrificial gift of his life, given in service to his Father, for us.

If we confuse wants with needs we are on dangerous ground. If we choose to care for another, we choose to benefit them, which involves sacrificing ourselves, showing our love. If they do something in return, with the same motivation, the love grows. If it is done to meet a want, it is more about paying a tax, an obligation, done grudgingly, with no sacrifice and no love. This applies at an individual and ecclesial level. And it works at God’s level too. So, what will you do for God and for Jesus, to show your love? Something you want to do, or something you need to do?