What We Want — or What We Need?

Holding out roll of cash - what we want

In our homeschooling journeys, are we modeling for our children to pursue what we want, or to seek out what we truly need?

As I read Acts 3:1-10, I was struck by the story of the lame man. Lame from birth, he was daily carried to the gates of the Temple where he asked for alms of those who entered the Temple. Imagine a life habituated towards asking for alms on a daily basis . . . yet, we see it every day in the lives of the homeless. “Do you have a quarter to spare?” the man asked me as I went through McDonald’s drive through. He looked at me expectantly. “Yes,” I responded and handed the man some cash. “God bless you.”

Similarly, the lame man when he heard Peter say, “Look at us,” directed his gaze towards Peter and John, expecting to receive alms. He was expectant for material goods. Imagine the lame man’s surprise when Peter said, “I have no silver or gold.” Silver or gold would have been the lame man’s biggest want. With silver or gold, he could buy food, clothing, and shelter.

What We Want vs What We Need

But then Peter said, “But I give you what I have… in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” and… he did! The lame man got up after a life of lameness and walked for the first time. Imagine… Acts 10:7 states, “And he [Peter] took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.” Immediate strength. An ability to walk. Something the lame man had surely, in the deepest recesses of his heart, yearned for all of his life. Yet his expectation had been alms. This man “stood,” in fact he leapt up, and entered the temple with Peter and John (vs. 8). As he entered the temple, he was “walking and leaping and praising God” (vs. 9).

The lame man wanted material goods, but what he really needed was physical and spiritual healing of body and heart as we see him walking, leaping, and praising God.

Sometimes what we want (e.g., money, silver, gold) isn’t what we need. We ask and expect, but we are going after secondary goods. God knows what we need. He even knows what our children need.

I wonder what you ask for and wait expectantly for when it comes to homeschooling your children? Do you focus on the material (i.e., secondary goods) or do you pray and ask and wait expectantly for the things that matter most — the issues of the heart?

Prayer Reflection

  1. Lord, am I focused on the right things? Am I focused on silver or gold when you have better things in store for me and for my children?
  1. Lord, am I worried about finances and what material goods I can provide for my children when you have better goods, in fact, the Ultimate Good, in store for them… that is You, the Creator and Sustainer of life.

Oh Lord, teach me to focus my gaze on You and not the world’s goods. Lord, may your Spirit help me to differentiate clearly between what I want and what I need and to see with clarity that You, indeed, are all I need and all my children need. Help me and my children to pant after streams of living water (Psalm 42:1), thirsting for You, the Living God. In the matchless name of Jesus, Lord of Heaven and Earth, Sustainer of Life and Breath of my soul, Amen.


June Hetzel, Ph.D., Dean of Education, Biola University