There has always been two types of needs in the church, the need to give and the need to receive. One of these two needs controls both the hearts and minds of all the saints, and both are necessary to have in the church, because without them, we would have no personal growth.
We are going to take a look at these two needs, and somewhere in the midst of one of them, you will find yourself.
The Need to Receive
When a person comes to Christ for the first time, or the backslider returns home, his heart is overwhelmed by the need to receive. He has lived a life filled with heartache due to selfish living. This selfish living has created a need so deep, that only God himself can fill it. His first need is forgiveness. Tears fall as the sinner comes and confesses his need for a savior and is filled by His spirit. Chains are loosed as he enters the waters of baptism, and by the name of Jesus he is cleansed from all unrighteousness. Now, as he sits in a service or Bible study, his heart is dominated by the need to receive a better understanding of Christ. This is a good thing! Without this need, we would get nowhere in trying to teach him, nor would he even care to learn. At some point, personal growth leads him to teach his own Bible Study, and inevitably, leads him into a ministry. We need to pray that this need begins to take root into the hearts and minds of every sinner around us. But there is another need that must be present to complete this cycle and that is the need to give.
The Need to Give
Somewhere in the process of spiritual growth, our needs began to change. The need to receive no longer controlled our thoughts and behaviors. We were finally able to see past our own need to receive from Christ, to see the brokenness of others around us. This process of change happened when we came to the understanding that we will always have needs. But, we know that God SHALL SUPPLY ALL our needs “according to His riches in glory.” (Phil 4:19) This is where faith took over and we began to trust God, and take Him at his Word! With the need to give in our hearts, we no longer look at church as our personal “filling station”, but instead, we come with the desire to give to someone else. When the call is made to come to the front, we don’t go with our personal needs in mind, but our desire is to pray for someone else, somebody who has the need to receive. I wish I could say that the process of change from “the need to receive” to the “need to give” is easy, but it’s not. There are some who have been on the pews for years that are still on the “milk of the Word” (1Pet 2:2), while others who have been saved for just a short time are already eating “the meat of the Word.” (Heb 5:14)
For three years, Jesus had twelve disciples who were dominated by the need to receive. After he died on the cross and they were filled with His Spirit, they became controlled by the need to give. Jesus said these words to them just before he ascended into heaven, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Mat 28:19). This was the hope of Christ; that what He spent pouring into them during those three years, they in-turn would pour into somebody else.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Mat 9:36-38)
Where are you now, and what need is controlling you?