Meeting Unfelt Needs

LeRoy Koopman

READ : John 6:22-27

Jesus met felt needs. When a blind man came to him seeking sight, Jesus enabled him to see. When people were hungry in the wilderness, Jesus fed them. Even when a wedding party ran short of wine, he helped them out.

When Jesus met felt needs, he did so without first applying a test of faith or morals. He freely and generously expressed the love of God.

But not all needs are felt needs. Sometimes the greatest needs are unfelt, or ignored, or disguised as something else. There is a hunger that is even more serious than a hunger of the body. Soul starvation is even worse than body starvation. “Do not work for the food that perishes,” said Jesus, “but for the food that endures for eternal life” (v. 27).

We ought to follow the example of Jesus in meeting felt needs. We are right in sponsoring food pantries, used clothing stores, drug and alcohol recovery groups, divorce seminars, and a host of services that help people cope in our complex world.

But if we meet only felt needs without challenging people to explore their unfelt needs, we are doing them a great disservice. If we dispense only the “food that perishes” without also boldly and urgently offering the “food that endures for eternal life,” we are tragically misrepresenting the ministry of Jesus Christ.


Help us, Father, to meet people’s greatest needs, even if they are not fully aware of what those needs are. In Jesus’ name.