A TV

As Americans we are pretty spoiled. Things we see as simple pleasures are great luxuries to many in the world. But what really constitutes a necessity and what is just a thing that for now, we can do without and how do we tell the difference?

Every now and then we have misunderstandings in our benevolence ministry on what is a necessity and what is simply a luxury. One woman asked that we pay her cable bill. When we explain that a cable bill is not a necessity, she begins to get angry. Frustrated she asks us what her kids are supposed to do all day without cable? I’m not faulting her, it’s her perspective for where she is at right now. I wonder what she would tell a Haitian mother whose country has only been able to remove 2% of the rubble from a earthquake long since past?

Still another woman who is getting back on her feet and explains to us that she has nothing but a few items of clothing and list her number one need as a television.

We wade through the requests and almost everyone who fills out a form is helped but it is sometimes sad when I see that these people need much more than a TV. I am praying about how to best help our community. The single mom who needs school clothes for her kids is easy to help. The man who needs a suit to go to a job interview is a simple fix. Only what do we do with those who can’t pinpoint their need or who are misdirected in their need?

I had to laugh when a homeless man came in to get some clothes and water and then asked for a microwave. His reasoning? “Well, one day I’ll get on my feet and I’ll need it.”

Today I am sitting here wondering if the reason we are struggling with our economy is that we didn’t understand necessities? I wonder if we will get back to basics and will that be a good thing for America?

Published in: on September 14, 2010 at 8:55 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I like the mans perspective he is seeing his future better than his current situation, he has faith his future will prosper.
    Sometimes I look around my house and I think we need to scale down, okay we have cable but do we need all the extra channels we don’t watch we should just have basic cable, do we really need a house phone when no one answers it because all that calls are telemarketers and people who want your vote..you learn to look around and see what are needs, what are wants. Once you make the decision then what do you to scale it down.

  2. In a way though, it does sort of make sense when you backtrack to what emotional need its filling… which sometimes seems more critical than a physical need.

    microwave=hope for future, and maybe to know someone else believed that he could do it? lol i think i totally would have promised the guy that when he comes in and has an apartment you’d get him a microwave. give him something to look towards and aim at as a goal. considering how rough a road he probably has to get there, might be a difference in making the effort or not.

    tv for the woman with only clothes to her name= something to mentally escape and take her mind off current state of reality for her. distraction from focusing on the bad, sometimes seems like the only way to endure the bad times. maybe some books, or something else enjoyable to focus on might work.

    cable for the mother= something to keep the kids entertained to allow her to get other things done without their interfering. depending on the age of the kids, maybe she needs help on getting things done around the house? or maybe help with getting the kids to help her on things if they are older.

    sort of like the hungry person telling you they need a cheeseburger… the junk is just how they’ve learned to try to fill the need the easiest, not that the cheeseburger is actually the need itself.

    • Yes! I did tell the homeless man that when he got a place I’d give him a microwave. He comes in pretty regularly and always asks me for money for food. When I tell him that I won’t give him cash but I’ll get some food warmed up, he laughs and says, “Well, I tried. You know I need it for drinking. I can get someone to buy me a burger at McDonalds.”


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