No one is perfect, being less than whole people because of the effects of our sinful, human nature.

We all are lacking, or have needs, in the physical, emotional, social, mental and spiritual realms of our lives. These necessities are often met, at least partially, through others to encourage inter-dependence in the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12-27). When others have come to our aid, be appreciative and

Wants are not needs – can I distinguish between them?

express thanks to them as this encourages them in this ministry of blessing others, "Doing as we would like done to us" (Lk 6:31).

God expects us to meet our need when we can, not expecting Him or others to provide. Like Ruth, we should take the initiative, explore the options and utilise the opportunities to help meet our own needs (Ruth 2:2). We are also encouraged to pray about our daily needs (Mt 6:11-13).

Beyond that, we are to do good to all, especially fellow Christians (Gal 6:10). Don’t ignore or refuse to help those in need for God sees and will reward each act of kindness, even for giving a cup of cold water to a person in need (Mt 10:42, 25:35-45). We are to be impartial, without prejudice to others in the help we provide (Lk 6:35,36).  Christ has made provision for the eternal salvation of every human if they avail themselves of the opportunity. Our good works may be what it takes to get them into the Kingdom.

Wisdom is required to determine the level and duration of the assistance offered. While handouts solve the short-term need, unless there is a genuine long-term necessity this creates a dependency and ongoing expectation. In contrast, a hand up is just a boost for a limited time to get them back on their feet.

By being in relationship with others, we become aware of their needs and can seek to meet them, either unaided or by enlisting the help of others. Jesus, in loving ministry, gave His all to the suffering and afflicted, those needy people disadvantaged in life (Lk 4:18-21; 2 Cor 8:9). This included providing food for His listeners showing that it is important to minister to the practical needs as well as the spiritual dimension (Mk 6:35-43, 8:1-9). We are to reflect the same virtues and motivation in our lives, and so continue the outward focus work of Christ ministering hope to people with the holistic gospel that addresses the needs of body, soul and spirit (Phil 2:4; Jas 2:14-16).

God will meet all our need (but not our greed!) through His riches in Christ (Phil 4:19). The key to contentment is not increasing our wants rather in reducing our needs. Our greatest need is a Saviour, followed by being constantly filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18).

See also: golden rule, good works, greed, handout/hand up, impartial, needy, outward focused, poor.