Grace Extending

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[* Adapted from Pastor Bryce's message, “I am Poor and Needy”. Click here to access audio for the whole series, Needy.]


Needy. Do any of us want to be needy? Do any of us want to be thought of as needy? If you are needy in our society, does it, from the culture's perspective, make you a hero or a 'zero'?

In the next few minutes, as you read this post, I want God to help us, both you and me, to see neediness in a whole new light. My prayer is that we would have the eyes to see that any situation in which we are reminded that we are desperately needy is a good situation, for just that reason. That doesn't mean it's not a hard situation. But if it reminds us of our neediness, that's good. Here's my premise:

God's word teaches us that being needy is not a disgrace, but a reality to be embraced.

Think for a moment about what Luke 5:27-32 teaches us about being needy...

After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” [28] And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. [29] And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. [30] And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” [31] And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. [32] I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

In Levi's home that day there were spiritually sick people in need of a divine doctor's care. In Levi's house there were sinners in need of God's grace. It was a party of needy, needy people. And I believe the host of the party understood this. If Levi (also known as Matthew) did not see himself as a needy person, he would have never followed Jesus in the first place. Right? Remember, it says in verse 28 that Levi left “everything” to follow Jesus.

The whole point of what Jesus is saying in Luke 5 is that sin sickens our souls by deceiving us about our neediness. Therefore, we cannot move forward spiritually unless we, like Levi, acknowledge we are sick; that we are needy. This is the “repentance” to which Jesus calls us according to verse 32. And when we do this, the hands of our heart are open and ready to receive what needy people like us need.

The courage to admit we are desperately needy is directly tied to the comfort that God can and will meet our needs. And all of that is a gift of God's grace. Did Levi go out and seek Jesus and attempt to earn an invitation to be Christ's disciple? No, he was there at the tax booth, minding his own business, and Jesus broke in. That is the hope of the gospel!

And that is our hope today. Would you pray today and tomorrow and the next day that God would break in and help you see your neediness, and how He can meet those needs in Jesus?

Teacher and writer Paul Tripp captures the importance of this neediness, and the beauty of God's provision, in his poem, Weak. He writes: 

I long to be strong
full of vitality
energy to spare
wide awake
brain in gear
muscles ready
motivation engaged
purposed possessed
raring to go
unstoppable zeal
a competitor
a completer
the envy of others
no frailties
no worries
no regrets

But you have rendered me weak
unable to be what I once was
ever again
not in this life
the old me

I cannot live as I once did
I cannot do what I once did
I cannot press through
what you have chosen for me
I cannot escape
I cannot break free
I cannot will for something better

Weakness is my lot
Suffering is my prison
You have chained me to frailty
I cannot break free

But this prison is your workroom
and I am your clay
You are not a jailer
You are a potter
I have not been condemned
I am being molded
Your hands have been heavy
Your push on me is hard
When the soil is resistant
the molding is violent

My weakness is not about what I am
My weakness is about what I am
My travail does not preach your
My travail preaches your

This prison is your classroom
I am learning
Your presence
I am learning
Your promises
I am learning
Your power
I am learning
Your mercy
I am learning
Your gospel
I am learning

The danger for me was never
The danger has always been
my delusions of

You have shattered my delusion
and in shattering have proven
My strength is and has always been




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