“If men serve their Creator truly they will never feel need, for as the voice of the Psalmist makes known, ‘I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging their bread.’ He, who satisfied five thousand men with five loaves, can very easily fill the storehouse with grain.” While Winnoc stayed there that night, the storehouse was filled by the faith and prayers of the man of God.
- Jonas, Life of St. Columban
Ever give us, Lord Christ, this water, that it may be in us too a Fountain of water that lives and springs up to eternal life. I ask great gifts indeed, who knows it not? But Thou, the King of glory, knowest how to give greatly, and Thou hast promised great things; nothing is greater than Thyself and Thou has given Thyself to us. Thou gavest Thyself for us. Wherefore we beseech Thee that we may know the thing we love, since we pray for nothing other than Thyself to be given to us; for Thou art our all, our life, our light, our salvation, our food, our drink, our God.
- Columbanus, Sermon XIII
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
- Philippians 4.19
A large party was coming to dinner at one of Columbanus’ monasteries, and the keeper of the storehouse, Winnoc, was concerned that there was not enough grain to make bread sufficient for them all. He expressed his concern to Columbanus, who answered him as Jonas indicates in the quote above.
What does Paul mean when he says that “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”? The key word here is need, and the important point to grasp is that our needs may not be always what we think. Job believed he needed an explanation from God for his suffering, but that wasn’t what he needed at all. What he needed, God gave him, namely, an overpowering review of the scope of God’s power and an assurance of His loving attention and care. That, coupled with a stern rebuke for his presumptuousness. Job never got the intellectual satisfaction he was seeking, but he got much more – exactly what he neededto be restored in faith and at peace.
Columbanus taught his monks that Christ was what they needed, more of Jesus, Who gave Himself freely and completely that they might have no other needs than Him. We sometimes glibly sing about the sufficiency of Jesus for all our needs: “Jesus is all the world to me…” “You can have all this world; give me Jesus.” “I’d rather have Jesus than anything.” So we sing, but do we really mean that Jesus is all we need?
Our Father knows our needs before we ask Him, and much of His work in the world each day (Eph. 1.11) goes toward meeting the needs of His people. But even if our physical needs go unmet, or our need for relief from some fear or doubt is not forthcoming, if we have Jesus and are resting in Him, those other needs will not seem so important. We should be bold and ask the Father for more of Jesus – more of His indwelling presence and power, more of His glory as revealed in His Word, more clarity and consistency in our vision of Him exalted in glory, more of His “with you always” presence in the midst of all our daily activities. If we have Jesus, we’ll have all we need. And even if this life fails us, and our time on earth runs its course, if we have Jesus, we’ll have all we need.
Seek the Lord faithfully and serve Him diligently, and your sense of what you need will change. You won’t be thinking as much about those physical and material needs that often lead to anxiousness and concern, and you’ll realize more of God’s presence, promise, and power supplying all you need of the riches in glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jonas indicates that the Lord resupplied the granary overnight, even while Winnoc remained there, no doubt fretting about how to feed all those guests. At this point, we may be inclined to say, “Yeah, right. Overnight? No way.” But why not? God had promised. Columbanus turned to prayer, claiming the all-sufficiency of Jesus to meet their needs out of His riches in glory, which includes the riches of every harvest. We don’t know how that granary was resupplied. Was this a true miracle? Or was it that God moved local people to participate in His work of meeting the needs of His servants and theirs – which would have been no less of a miracle?
Columbanus was content to trust God to provide this need, even if He chose not to resupply the granary and to lead him and his company into meager rations or even a fast – whatever would lead them into more of Jesus.
If, in the midst of all our needs, we have Jesus, then truly we have all we need.
Is Jesus sufficient for all your needs?
Psalm 23.1-4 (The Gift of Love: Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire)
Because the Lord my Shepherd is I shall not want, for I am His!
He makes me lie in pastures full; I rest in Him by waters still.
My soul He quickens and will bless; He leads in paths of righteousness.
Though I may walk in death’s dark vale, I shall not fear – He will not fail!
Lord, take away all my anxious fears and doubts about what I consider my needs to be, and let me…
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T. M. Moore, Principal
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
All We Really Need
- T.M. Moore
- December 18, 2018
It's Jesus. Period.
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.