You Needed Me

So I’m going a little old-school here, but is there a more elegant and reflective love song than Anne Murray’s classic, “You Needed Me?” Go listen and tell me if I’m not spot on here.

I don’t remember not having this song in my mental library. I remember seeing her sing it on television. Her effortless vocals (despite the acrobatics in the melody) were so sincere and grateful. I loved that thought of putting the one you love up on a pedestal, to help them, care for them, pull them from their messes and help them find a better course.

Those lyrics speak volumes about the ways that we can serve the one we love.

I cried a tear, you wiped it dry
I was confused, you cleared my mind
I sold my soul, you bought it back for me
And held me up and gave me dignity

Now those are great lyrics aren’t they? But the one that I just recently began to recognize as it came up on my huge playlist full of (mostly cheesy) love songs is the very next phrase:

Somehow you needed me.

Again and again, the lyrics describe all of the ways she has been loved, but the line comes up again: “You needed me.” It’s the title of the song.

Now let’s be honest. At first glance that doesn’t even make sense. Shouldn’t it be, “I needed you?”

But it highlights one of the most powerful relational lessons I have learned. One of the most powerful ways to build connection with someone is to be humble enough to need them just as they need you. And, just to be clear, I’m convinced we need each other. As a follower of Jesus, you simply cannot fulfill the Great Commandment without loving other people—and necessarily letting them love you too.

People that are close to my life will recognize at even a slight glance that I am surely more needy of my beloved wife than she could ever be of me, right? But I suspect that, if you really dig into it, you would find that my need for her is just more obvious and visible (largely because I’m the big mouth here) than her need for me. We can’t get around the fact that we need each other.

But this is true in relationships of all kinds. I have come to see that one of the best ways to build trust with someone is to ask for their help and then ask how I can help them. And yet, I find that so many of us are so incredibly eager to help others but so slow to ask for help for ourselves.

Do we realize that our unwillingness to need someone else is really robbing us of a much stronger relationship?

Many centuries back, an extremely wise (and exorbitantly wealthy) king shared the notes on his research project to explore every option and seek meaning in all the things that we are inclined to pursue. He said we need others. Consider his words here:

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4.9-12

You see, the guy who could buy and sell attendants without thought concluded… we need people to lean on. I have a hunch that, if he could listen to Anne Murray’s song, he would say, “Yeah, that makes sense.”

Just Jesus.

Do you have a favorite t-shirt?

One of my all-time favorites was one I bought the summer God began to turn my world upside down and move me out of the band room into the pastor’s study.

The shirt was a plain gray shirt with two words on the front and two on the back.

Just Jesus

Nothing More

It came from a song we sang that week at camp. It was written by the worship leader for the week, Tom Duckett. I’ve looked all over for the recording but cannot find it. The lyrics were so beautifully simple that I remember them still.

Only Jesus paid the price for me

Only His love could set me free

Nobody else could open heaven’s door

Just Jesus and nothing more

I’ve been reminded of this as we spent so much time in Philippians 3 this weekend and we heard Paul saying that knowing Jesus was the thing that mattered. In fact, he testified that all of the rest of his accomplishments and experiences and hopes and dreams and aspirations were like a pile of garbage (or worse) in comparison.

It seems that, if you asked him what in all the world he wanted, Paul’s answer would have been, “Just Jesus, nothing more.”

I am finding more and more that, when I passionately press in to know Jesus, He seems to do things in me and through me that I cannot do. He teaches others things I cannot teach. He loves others in ways I cannot love. He speaks words of comfort and peace and hope that I cannot speak.

And when I look at what He commanded, I see that the essence of it all was to love Him with all that I am and to love others like I’m inclined to love myself. But I wrestle with the question: how can I be focused on Him and loving to others at the same time?

I think maybe I’m starting to get it. When I am so heart-soul-mind-strength focused on Jesus, He goes around loving others and I come along. He goes to my neighbor and serves Him and I come along. He does the things I cannot do and directs the steps I don’t know how to take and speaks the words that I have no way to express.

And what do I get?

I get what I most desperately need and most desperately long for and most desperately hope for…

Just Jesus.

Nothing more.

Because when we get Jesus, everything else melts away in insignificance.

I’m convinced that the work He wants to do in transforming my life is not about me. It’s for you. He wants to transform me to serve you. And He wants to transform you to serve another.

And in it all we get the key to everything – Jesus Himself.

I have come to understand that genuine love does what is best for the one loved. John told us that God so loved the world that He gave us what we most needed—Himself.

What do you need? Really?

Just Jesus.

Nothing More.

The Mess of Lack

If God has come to us, here in this world, why is there so much need?

When we look at John’s account of Jesus feeding 5000 people, I believe we can see some important things.

Jesus came into the mess of our lack and brought abundance.

See Him. See that Jesus is our great PROVISION, not just our Provider.

Believe Him. Believe that will both BE and PROVIDE what we truly need.

Know Him. Know Him as God in the Mess of your Lack.