Have To
Off the Wall, Oct
3, 2013

As I was having a conversation with a long-time friend recently, I told this fellow who I will call Jeff that I had to go to sing for a funeral the next day whereby he stated, “You don’t have to go, you want to go. He opened up a new can of worms of thought for this column. He was right, you know. I didn’t have to go at all, but something told me in my heart that I wanted to go and so I had a “mind-set” if that is the proper terminology.

Most of the decisions we make in life center around those two words – having and wanting, but I think most of us rarely give it a thought that our desires are driven by underlying currents of initiatives whereby we arrive at conclusions that set up our acts of what we are going to do when.

Josie Havto of Lincoln, NE, had four meeting she knew she must attend in two weeks. What made her feel so compelled to be present? Were relatives going to be there? Did someone suggest her presence would be necessary? Or was she influenced by receiving a stipend if she taught a class at this destination? Which one of the three would be your biggest influence? I would lean toward the latter.

Doesn’t receiving some kind of paycheck have a lot to do with how we schedule our day’s activities? All of us have bills to pay. That’s life, and the way it’s always been and always will be. We have to make payments even though we may not want to. What separates the haves from wants are our desires to be in good standings with our fellow citizens. Failure to pay the mortgage, car payment or credit card debt will only result in more debt and none of us want that.

However, as I see it, we are living in an interesting time. Throughout the years as I was growing up, people struggled more to make sure bills were met to the very best of their ability. Then there weren’t credit cards. People’s wants came as a means of saving up for that particular thing. “You have to put so much in your piggy bank until you have enough to buy that doll you want,” grandma may have told her granddaughter.

I wonder how many children today even have one of these let alone know what one is.

What’s hard for me to figure out is, “How can every kid in the block have a cell phone?” When I price these things, they cost someone in the proximity of $100 per month. In my mind, I, too, would like to have one, but do I want to shell out $100 every 30 days? It becomes a matter of priorities to most of us. Which is more important, paying for our medicines or gasoline or owning the newest technological device to listen to friend’s voices or parents’ requests? I think you already know the answer to that question.

When I was in junior high school in Oakmont, I recall wanting to have a Shakespeare fishing rod. “I have to have one,” I told my folks, to which they stated, “You will have to save up for one,” and that I did. I think it took me all of three months before receiving the seven-foot dark pink rod in the mail. To this day, I’ll never forget taking it out of the package and admiring something I worked very hard to get.

As a youth, there were many things I wanted but never got. On the other hand, I received blessings of which I was well pleased. That proved to me that it was perfectly all right if I didn’t get all my wants, for my parents knew best, and since I was being raised under their roof, I would let them decide what was desirable for me at that time.

My wants and haves took me in various directions as I aged. Not having God in my life took me down one path. Only after changing my course of direction, receiving Jesus Christ into my life did my whole life turn around. My thoughts of wanting and having were no longer separate entities. He gave me what I had searched for – love, peace and joy. I didn’t have to do anything to earn His gifts. My praises will be on my lips always!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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