Men are fairly simple creatures. Our “needs” are straightforward if we are “in” them; rather, if we have those “need” elements actively working in our life, then our life is moving forward. However, if those elements are not present, our life becomes more complicated, angst ridden, and lacking in direction. I suppose then I must define “needs” as I mean them so as to separate them from mere wants and desires. A man’s need is something that must be present in order for him to fulfill himself without which a man cannot become what he is capable of. It doesn’t mean though that a man WILL fulfill himself just because some need element is present. It just means that if it is not present, he is incapable of fulfilling his potential. Ergo the idea of need.
Like, for example, work; Man must work. And not just get up every day and participate in labor, though that’s a step in the right direction. And certainly not living a life of leisure because economics are already met. That is a recipe for self destruction. No, a guy has to spend himself on multiple levels. The word “spend” is appropriate – Man must pour out his energies regularly in work. It is a fundamental need that man must truly endeavor towards some end. Rest very little. What is the point of weekend? To escape from the drudgery of one’s job? No, the weekend is an interval to rest and restore so that you may go again and spend your your mental, emotional, psychological, relational, and perhaps spiritual capital towards some worthy endeavor. Those men who think TGIF is an escape from the burden of work are woefully misled. Those are the kind of guys that work to retire some day, whose lives are on hold until…until some unknown thing happens. Then, within 1 year after retiring, they will be dead, surprised at their death because they were waiting for life to begin. No gentlemen, work is a God-given blessing that fulfills a fundamental aspect of man’s being. Man needs work.
Does that mean that all work is equal? Is digging a ditch the same as brain surgery? I suppose in a Buddhist way you could make that case, but here in the Western world that’d be a tough argument. Each man’s potential capacities must be challenged through work. So in fairness, a ditch digger could be challenged to the same degree as a brain surgeon given their capacities. There is the notion of “Highest and Best Use” where a man’s efforts are more valuable to himself and God being poured out in alignment with his gifts and interests, i.e., the area of his greatest potential. So some men’s potential are more aligned with physical labor, some musical labor, others mathematical labor, and some evangelical labor. I, for one, could be more fulfilled digging a ditch than leading a choral ensemble, but not as much as building a business.
So the idea of “Highest and Best Use” is a step closer to understanding another fundamental need – Reason. Man must have a reason to work, a reason to get up energized for the day to spend his energies, a reason that engages his full being towards some directional end. It’s not enough to just work – man must have underlying his work a compelling reason to work. And this is where is gets complicated. There are economic reasons, psychological reasons, and there are spiritual reasons – Body, MInd, and Spirit. These reasons for working are dynamic, layered, hidden, and somewhat elusive. A man needs a compelling reason, a vision, to spend his energies that will define the “Why?” of his life. Pursuit of the answer to that question is to hold a compass and set out on the journey of life. Man must work in order to find out why he works and what are the motivating qualities of his life.
Men are designed to work, but we are not pack animals. It is these Body, Mind, Spirit elements that inspirit us to work harder, smarter, and more effectively. In my future What Men Need letters, we’ll discuss money and freedom, respect and competition, love and passion, and societal and Godly contribution as compelling reasons.
To fulfilling your needs,