Summary: Think about this. "What is it that people really want?" & "Just how important are these things, anyway?" Now let’s look at my list, & see if we can find some answers to these questions.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH
A. Some months ago, a preacher I know decided to keep track for one week of all the requests people made of him at the church, & of all the questions that he was asked.
When people stopped by to see him, what did they want? When people called him on the phone, what was on their mind? What was bothering them? What did the people really want?
When I heard about that, I wondered, "What would be the result if I did the same thing here? What is it that people really want?" So I kept a list.
B. Now it goes without saying that almost everyone is wanting something.
There is a passage in Psalms that tells us that even as a deer pants after, or longs for, water, so also we ought to long for God. "I pant after you, O Lord," wrote the Psalmist.
And Isaiah asked, "Why do you spend money on things that are not bread? And why do you labor for things that do not satisfy?"
Think about this. "What is it that people really want?" & "Just how important are these things, anyway?" Now let’s look at my list, & see if we can find some answers to these questions.
First of all, people are concerned about food. Now that doesn’t come as any great surprise, I am sure. But I mention that first because every week people come by the church building, asking for food, asking for money, saying that they’re hungry & need something to eat.
Hunger can cause pain beyond description. Most of us can’t even imagine the pain because we have never really been hungry.
Of course, some of us seem to be dieting constantly, & we think we’re hungry. But there’s no comparison. We eat regularly, & we go to bed having had plenty to eat.
Yet we’re told that half of the world is starving. And even in this land of plenty, there are always people asking for food.
ILL. A church in Florida was burned in an act of arson. The preacher said, "I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure I know who did it. A transient came by asking for food. But we don’t keep any food here. So he became very angry, & I’m convinced that he started the fire on his way out."
People will do almost anything to satisfy their hunger. In the O.T., when famine swept across Egypt, & only Pharaoh had food stored up for that famine, people were willing to sell their property, their lives, their clothing, anything, for food.
Do you remember what happened after Jesus fed the multitudes? They wanted to make Him king. They wanted a king who could always miraculously give them food to eat.
Jesus can supply all our needs, but He is especially concerned about our eternal needs. He said, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, & he who believes in me will never be thirsty."
A. Secondly, I wrote down the word "knowledge." Hardly a week goes by without someone asking me questions about the Bible. Sometimes the question is like this, "Where in the Bible do you find these words, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness"? (I trust you all realize that is not in the Bible.)
Then again, someone may ask, "Whatever happened to the ark of the covenant?" I wish I knew the answer to that one. You see, there are some questions that we just can’t answer.
People ask all kinds of questions. It seems that people are hungry for knowledge. We want to know God’s Word. We want knowledge of the world around us. We want knowledge of other people. We want knowledge about ourselves.
God has given us a desire for knowledge, & this has brought about many of the conveniences we enjoy today. Without that desire we would probably still be living in the horse & buggy age.
But because the horse wouldn’t get us there soon enough, we invented other ways to travel. Because we’re basically lazy, we have come up with all kinds of gadgets to make life easier - all because of our desire for knowledge.
B. But Paul mentions a knowledge that is evil, "a knowledge that puffs up, that causes pride, that brings about arrogance, & even division."
ILL. I think we can see that in our modern world. When our children are small we test them to determine how intelligent they are. Then we divide them into categories. "Here are the slow ones, & here are the average ones, & here are the fast learners." It doesn’t take children long to figure out which group they’re in. And they develop complexes in keeping with that group.