Needy, Yet Godly

I was reading Psalm 86 today and something stuck out to me. Read the first two verses of this psalm: “Incline your ear O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant who trust in you—you are my God.”

At first glance there seem to be two phrases in opposition to one another–” . . . I am poor and needy” and ” . . . I am godly.” How can someone be both needy and godly at the same time? I think it goes against our American Christian mindset to think that these could go together. We see neediness as weakness. We can see neediness as not really trusting God. I have a British friend that says many British evangelicals see the Christian life as “middle class plus.” In other words many Christians think that the Christian life lived well is a life of blessing, power and prosperity. One should not be needy. Many times it seems our cult Christian heroes are those that display a strong persona and few needs.

Yet, I think the psalmist has it absolutely right (I better say that since I am dealing with the Word of God). I think these two terms are completely synonymous. To be godly is to simultaneously be needy. Because when we see ourselves as truly needy–then we need God–we trust Him–we cry out to Him–we become more like Him. Look at the last line of v.2-“save your servant, who trust in you—you are my God.” I think the last phrase sums it up.

Is the Christian life “middle class plus?” Or is it a daily walk and realization that I am desperately needy–and that is the path to godliness?

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