I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11
Twenty-three-year-old Brianna Karp was a victim of the recession.
When she lost her job in 2008, Brianna started to divest herself of life's extras -- the things she really didn't need. She got rid of furniture, a piano, books, and a host of other things.
A year after she joined the ranks of the unemployed she found herself living without electricity, regular showers, home-cooked meals, and some basic conveniences.
There was one necessity Karp refused to give up -- her laptop computer.
Using the wireless network available at a local coffee shop, she surfed the Web looking for jobs; she stayed in touch with friends, and she started an Internet diary on how it felt to live life without so much "stuff."
I suppose it makes sense, but her choice of a computer on her list of bare necessities seemed to be a strange a reminder of Will Rogers' remark: "America is the only country where people drive to the poor house in their car."
Karp's story made me ask, "What are my bare necessities? In my life what would I give up, what am I ready to hold on to?"
The answer to that question, I imagine, is different for most of us. What's precious for one person may be junk to someone else. What's special for the goose isn't always special for the gander.
Quite possibly, the words of St. Paul give us a clue into what should be on everyone's list. Think about it: if a person can be content in every circumstance, he probably has his priorities in order.
What is it St. Paul has which enables him to make such a statement? Verse 13 of the fourth chapter of Philippians gives us the answer. He writes, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."
Christ is the answer. Jesus is the one Person needful. He is the One who can get us through rough times. He is the One who gives us an abundant life in this world and a blessed life through eternity.
Most of all, Jesus is necessary because He is the One who saves our souls from sin, death, and Satan.
Jesus is the ultimate bare necessity for us all.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in my life I may have many ups and downs, good times and bad. Help me always remember that the one person I cannot do without is Jesus, the Savior. Through His unique sacrifice I am washed of my sins and given the assurance of an eternity without sadness or sorrow. For Your great gift of grace in the risen Redeemer, my thanks. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries