Wants or Needs

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

One of the big debates in business and church circles is whether or not we need to give people what they want or what they need. It is obvious that often times what people need is not what they want.

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, had an interesting opinion about giving consumers what they want. He was never driven by the sort of thinking about giving people what they want because he assumed that consumers either didn’t know what they really wanted or he thought that by the time he figured out how to give it to them they would have moved on to wanting something else anyway.

Instead of giving people what they wanted Steve Jobs showed them what was possible. Then he used a strong marketing campaign to convince them that was what they wanted.

Jobs brought into our homes the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and the first mouse. Very few people even had an idea of the possibilities of what he presented in technology.

Jobs was a lot like Thomas Edison in that he did not seek a lot of focus groups and market research to determine how his devices should be crafted. He understood the fact that most people didn’t know what they wanted, “because they had no frame of reference for an iPhone that delivered a small miracle as it fit into the palm of a hand.”

Jobs always had a value of being proactive rather than reactive. Simply trying to give consumers what they want creates an endless chain of reactions. Being proactive allowed him to help people see the possibilities of what could be.

I was at first skeptical of the iPhone. I didn’t see how anything that small could contain so much information. I figured it was just going to be an expensive toy that a lot of people with advanced knowledge of technology would buy. I was right about the expensive part!

Jesus was always giving people what they needed, not what they wanted. They wanted someone who would come and take their side and deliver them to a better life. He didn’t come to take sides – He came to take over! He came to talk about discipleship and commitment and a willingness to serve. He came not to be a super hero who would make everybody rich but rather a Savior who could offer a new life to every person who would follow Him.

Someone has said that if man’s greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator; if man’s greatest need had been technology, God would have sent a scientist; if man’s greatest need had been money, God would have sent an economist; if man’s greatest need had been pleasure; God would have sent an entertainer. But man’s greatest need was forgiveness so God sent a Savior.

Luke 2:11 reads, “Unto you is born this day your Savior who is Christ the Lord.”

Giving and receiving what’s needed rather than what’s wanted may not be what we want but is what we need!

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