A few days ago, I felt led to write this post on A Call to Something More. I literally agonized over this post for 2 weeks in thinking about it, then 4 days in editing it. Now, as I promised at the end of that post I will embark in unpacking some of Tozer’s prophetic and heart piercing quotes that many people ignored back when he said them and we ignore still.
“God does not need anything, because when you give God anything, you only give what God gave you in the first place”- A.W. Tozer
I think many of us Christians feel as though God needs us and so we can treat church any which way we desire. Church is not a place for me to grow so I can go out and give to those who need, nor a place that trains me to be the incarnate Christ to a dark world. It is a place I feel justified in making demands. A place that if it doesn’t “fit me just right” I can leave and take my tithe somewhere else.
If the music is too bumpin’ or not bumpin’ enough I can move on. If the preacher is too dynamic or not dynamic enough I can move on.
I’ve seen a ton of Christians act as if they are God’s gift to the church or that they are God’s gift to himself… as if he needed them.
I too have fallen into this trap as a pastor and have lived out this attitude plenty of times. Yet, God doesn’t need anything. He is self sustaining, self fulfilling and has all the love he needs within Himself.
This then leads us to ask (as it should) Why am I here? Why does it matter if I follow Christ or not then? The answer is that we need Him. Every fiber of our being is bent to worship Him. We intrinsically need to give our time, money, work, worship and love to Him. We are built that way, by His design. We find ourselves empty when we are not filling it with Him. He created us way back in the Garden to walk with Him and to have a deep, face-to-face relationship with Him but this was broken and we’ve been trying to find our way back to Him ever since…many of us just didn’t know it (and still may not know). We try to fill it with happiness and we may go to church expecting church, the worship, the sermon or the conversations afterwards to fill us up, but we are not looking to Him to fill us as He was meant to. God doesn’t need anything and when we give to Him, it’s simply giving back to Him what he already has given to us. He is our sustainer, He gives us life, time, money, love and everything else. It all belongs to God already!
This idea changes the way we view everything, not just church.
Many churches have forgotten this, because many have been trying to be God’s gift to everybody, rather than leading everybody to the true gift: God Himself, the one we all actually need. They’ve pandered to the masses and have put certain things in place to please people. That was the main thrust of my first blog post in this series.
Tozer brought this idea forth with this quote and many like it that pointed to the folly the church then (1950’s and 60’s) was dealing with. He also said many things to warn folks who thought other than the quote above and how perilous that type of thinking could be to the Christian himself as well as the church at large.
In many respects, I think this idea of God needing nothing has been lost among many American Christians.
Let us remember that God doesn’t need us, we need Him. We are utterly dependent upon His favor and when we realize that, the game changes.