Joel's Necessity Network... Part 1

I would like to thank Barry for the thought-provoking entry on his blog and my mother for an insightful conversation on the same topic, which sparked the following cogitations. Oh, and, as I just noticed, Barry recently posted a blog on a similar subject, but with a slightly different perspective. You should read it as well ☺

Joel’s Necessity Network: An Unnecessary—But Hopefully Useful—Theory

Feeling that it could be constructive to establish some sort of a framework from which to discuss the concepts of necessary and unnecessary, I have come up with the following theory to determine what is really necessary, and along the way:
  1. the purpose of life, and
  2. what is required for fulfilling that purpose.
This, hopefully, will then enable a more informed and productive discussion regarding necessary/unnecessary items.

Before I begin in earnest, I want to get one thing out of the way: the answer to the very basic question, “necessary for what?” Necessary for fulfillment, happiness, and peace while alive on Earth, and eternal life, post-Earth.

Okay, first I posit that there is just one fundamental necessity. There are subsequent and dependent necessities, but everything is based on this cornerstone. Necessary #1 is a saving, love relationship with Jesus Christ. This might seem obvious, or simplistic, but I believe it is all that is truly necessary in life.

As long as one has this necessity, even lack of access to such essentials as food, water, shelter, or anything else is not a serious problem in the grand scheme of things. You can still be assured of fulfillment in this life (however short it is) and in the Hereafter. Consider the thief on the cross; he didn’t have any of the so-called essentials, but he did gain fulfillment and entrance into eternity by way of this simple key.

But before you accuse me of advocating a sadhu-type existence; there is a second, dependent, but no less important, point. Once one has entered into a saving, love relationship with Jesus, and assuming that the prospect of continued life is relatively positive, then something else becomes necessary. Accepting Jesus as your Savior means accepting His commission. Necessary #2 is to bring others into a saving, love relationship with Jesus. If God grants us an extended existence on Earth, our “transcendent purpose” becomes to be fishers of men. That’s it. That is our purpose in life!

These first two Necessaries correspond exactly with the two commandments Jesus classified as being of utmost importance when questioned by the truth-seeking scribe. “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Mt. 12:30-31) If we truly loved our neighbor, wouldn’t our utmost wish for them be to see them in Heaven?

When you have those two necessities, then a third becomes applicable. Necessary #3 is wisely managing the resources God has given us to fulfill our commission in Necessary #2. These resources include such things as time, money and other assets, talents and abilities, health (physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional), heritage, education, and relationships. This is where everything else comes into the picture. These are things God has given to each of us, for the purpose of bringing other people into the Kingdom. They are not merely for our enjoyment (although that is an undeniable aspect); they are tools, provided to be used for a specific task.

This concept is illustrated in the parable of the talents, in Matthew 25. The master gave his servants resources to invest for the purpose of earning a good return. Likewise, our Master has entrusted us with His possessions—His wealth, His creativity, even His life—to gain a bountiful harvest.

-Parenthetical Remark: Granted, this parable, and much of my argument only emphasize one aspect of God’s relationship with us and there are many other facets, which are ignored to our detriment! Christ calls us His children, His people, His body, even His bride! These elements are equally true and equally worthy of emphasis, I’m just working on the puzzle from a purely practical, business-minded perspective, because that’s my strength.

Perhaps a diagram would be helpful at this point.

As you can see, each successive level is built upon the ones below it, and is hence untenable by itself.

Okay, that’s enough for now. Unpacking Necessary #3 will have to be the subject of another blog.


  1. Good work. I like it.

    Looking forward to your unpacking #3.

  2. Well written. Simple and pragmatic.

  3. It's interesting to me that these comments have no unnecessary verbiage :)

  4. Nice diagram. I wish I could draw a tree. You know what's really interesting, Joel? When thinking in preparation for my own post, the first useful model I hit upon was a triangle, organized like yours. Had I pursued this model to fruition, I might have approximated the cogency and relevance of your final product.

  5. Hmm... interesting. I enjoyed thinking about this post. Necessary #1 I find fascinating. Jesus is life, the creator and maintainer. To say that a relationship with God is necessary is to say that life itself, our lives, are necessary. So one could draw from that that our life, derived from the sustaining power of God is not only our interest, but of paramount importance to heaven because of the significance of Christ's relationship to sinful man.

  6. Barry, I really resonated with the tree model! It's much more organic than an isosceles triangle :)

    Kelsey, that's a neat way of arriving at the amazing reality of God's individual, personal love for each person. I was focusing on our love for Him, but you're right; even more important is His preexisting, preeminent, and enabling love for each one of us!


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