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Summary: What is our greatest human need? Maslow has a theory. But what does God's theory say?

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In 1943 a man by the name of Abraham Maslow wrote a paper entitled A Theory of Human Motivation. In this paper Maslow developed a theory known as the hierarchy of needs. It has become perhaps the most popular theory relating to human needs. If you were to take a class or course in the field of psychology this theory would be the first thing that you learn. Maslow’s theory is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels. The lowest level is associated with our physiological needs; that is our need for air, food, water, sleep, etc. Those things which our body naturally needs to stay alive. The next level deals with our need for safety and security. The level above that outlines the need to be loved and to belong through friendships, family and even sexual intimacy. The fourth level speaks to our need to be esteemed and respected by others; to also feel a sense of achievement. The top level Maslow says is our need for self-actualization. It is the realization of one’s own potential and possibilities through a number of motivating factors. While Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a good theory, while it outlines the progression that we journey through as human beings and while it presents a very accurate reality, it does not give us all the answers. This colored pyramid does not represent the full picture. In all his research and all his studies Maslow missed the greatest of all human needs. None of these other needs be they met or unmet can match our greatest human need. Even though you may fulfill all these other needs if you miss experiencing the greatest need your life still remains void. So what is that need? What is the greatest human need?

There is a story recorded in the Bible about a paralyzed man who was brought to Jesus by a couple of his friends in hopes that Jesus would heal him. Let’s take a look at this story.

Read Mark 2:1-4

In this passage we find Jesus as we often do throughout the gospel teaching to a crowd of people. The scene is set in a typical ancient Palestinian home with the crowd surrounding Jesus inside home so much so that many were on the outside of the house looking in. It was standing room only. Even if you wanted to get in you couldn’t. Even if you had a ticket to the show, if you got there late you were out of luck. That is the picture that this passage paints for us. As the story continues we are introduced to a man who is paralyzed, he does not have the ability to walk. We don’t know how he became paralyzed. Whether he was born that way or something happened to cause his paralysis. The text does not tell us. All we know is that he is fixed to a bed and as a result of his condition he is at the care of his friends because he cannot take care of himself. Now here is where the story gets interesting. These four friends of the paralytic man decide they are going to bring their friend to Jesus in hopes that Jesus would show compassion towards him and restore his health and his ability to walk. But because the crowd was so thick and there was no way to get into the house from the front door, these guys create their own entrance by tearing off the roof of the house and lowering their friend in the bed right in front of Jesus. It was a desperate situation that called for desperate measures. These four men were going to get their friend to Jesus by any means necessary. There was nothing that was going to stop them from making a path to Jesus.


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