LIVING: NEEDS and Wants

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I’d Rather Buy New Tyres
Mr Lim is the section manager in my new workplace in Miri. He is about 40+ years old. Once during our training together, he was taking pictures of a machine we called “KÜSTER” to inform the mechanical team of a crack. But due to the poor lighting and his low-end handphone camera, he can’t seem to snap a picture that was sufficient to express the severity of the problem.

I, being a more modern kid and having IT smarts than him, instinctively pointed out to him that it was the problem of his handphone camera not having the suitable lens and flash to capture the picture. Naturally I asked, “Why not change a new hp?” He immediately shot back (like he had prepared how to answer this question a year ago) and said, “What? I’d rather buy a new tyre!”

Tyres VS Handphones
I was taken aback by his response because I had never heard it being expressed like that. I used to drive a motorbike to work when I was in Penang, so a tyre then cost about RM80 the most. Now that I have switched to a car, I hit me then that my current handphone is the equivalent of 2.5 tyres, and I didn’t even gave it a second thought when I first bought it! Did you?

When I got home that day, I continued down that train of thought and realized that car tyres need changing every year for the car to run at optimal condition. That makes tyres the higher order of “need” than handphones. To be frank, if I have RM500 in my hand right now, I would very much hesitate to buy a set of wheels because it is “so expensive”. But I wouldn’t feel a bit remorse if I used that money to buy a smartphone (a “low-end” one no less). Since when did I get my needs and wants upside down? And what’s more – what other needs have I gotten wrong?

Rethinking our Condition
When my parents look at society today, they often sigh about the condition. Divorce rates are up, coffee shops are getting less friendly, family relationships getting worse and our natural resources are depleting in an uncontrollable rate. If you really sit down and think about it, all these could have happened because couples are more concerned about their human rights than their ability to communicate; “tauke-s” are focusing more on customer who can give them more money and ignoring those who just come for coffee; parents are worried more about how to pay their children’s tuition fee, food and lodging than how their children are getting along; and humans are looking more to short term gain than long term.

In my life, I can see that I am more aware about the latest Marvel movie than what my wife is doing tonight. I am more concerned about when can I buy a house than how can I make a home. In relationships, I put more effort in making my boss happy than making my family happy. I tend to appreciate what my colleagues do for me but take what my family does for me for granted. And I am willing to pay more for a new handphone, than pay less for a set of wheels. With all these needs and wants jumbled up, there is no wondering why we feel so unfulfilled in life.

Jesus wants our life to be as fulfilling as it can be. In fact, He promised us “abundant life” and that He has come so that we “may have life to the full”. But this fulfilling life only happens when we obey His commands, which basically is love God and love others. If we just spend a little more time rethinking about what we do every day based on Jesus’ command to love, it will be clear to us where the need is. When we get that straightened out, we will have life to the fullest.
By Leonard Lu
Grace Methodist Church, Miri

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