I forgot to eat breakfast today. My stomach is reminding me of that as I write this. A little twinge, a little gurgle, just to remind me that I am in need of sustenance. Those little reminders are getting in the way of my work. I’m reminded of the need to set yourself up for success. Abraham Maslow wrote a paper in 1943 titled “A Theory of Human Motivation” in which he laid out his thoughts on what the stages of growth look like in human development. It is typically called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It begins with foundational basic human needs, those things that are an absolute requirement for human life. Air, water, food, clothing, shelter, those sorts of things. Those physical needs must be met for any person to survive and thrive. Maslow moves to the next level of need in addressing the need for safety – physical, economic, health and well-being. Next he moves to the need for friendship, intimacy, and family, the need for belonging. I could go on, but let me get to the point. There is a level of connectedness, of engagement, with our needs, our selves, and others that is all based on having the right environment for that awareness to grow.
As followers of Jesus, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs illustrates a great picture of how we develop and grow as Christians. We speak to our basic needs, asking God to give us our “daily bread”. We pray for safety, asking God to “deliver us from evil”. We have been called to be in community, the church, a place we find our sense of belonging, and as we become more connected, we become more engaged in the work of God in this world. We grow, we bear fruit, we become who God intends us to be.
We’ve talked this year at Zion about being “Grounded in God’s Love”, conveying the image that when you plant yourself in God’s good soil, you will grow well. Plant metaphors work well here because they grow much like we do, and they need the right conditions to flourish.
This Lent, we will talk about Growth. How do we foster growth in our lives? How do we work with God to make us bearers of his good fruit? What do we need to put in place so that we can see our lives become more of what God wants them to be?
James Penney said
Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.
So let’s get together with God, combine forces, and see what we can accomplish…