God Does Not Need Your Book

The creator of everything, who spoke things into existence, who threw the planets across the solar system, tossed solar systems around the galaxy and blew galaxies across the universe like so many dandelion seeds, does not need anything.

God does not need you to serve him in any way.

He does not need your money.

Or your prayers.

God does not need your worship.

Or your speaking ministry.

God certainly does not need your book.

The sustainer of life who holds us in his hand, who can humble great leaders in an instant, who can cause it to rain, or not…does not need me to work as an agent.

God doesn’t need me or anyone or anything else. He doesn’t need us to supply him with anything.

But we need him for everything.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19, NIV)

The savior of the world who came to earth on his timetable, who lived a short but powerful life as a human, willingly took our sin upon himself along with the accompanying punishment, was crucified, died, buried and rose again from the dead, does not need our books.

But the people for whom he loved so much and sacrificed his Son? He gives them opportunities to join him in his work in the world. The world he made.

It seems to me this invitation to join him in his work is a special privilege, bestowed as a gift. We can talk to, work with and take part in a blessed life of service to the Almighty God, the creator and sustainer of everything seen and unseen.

Sounds like a pretty interesting life if you ask me.

Multiple times in Scripture a situation or problem is presented, then pivots on two words:

“But God…”

But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. (Genesis 8:1, NIV)

But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. (Genesis 45:7, NIV)

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20, NIV)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, NIV)

For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. (Galatians 3:18, NIV)

Lots of people would like to write a book, but God inspires authors with creativity, allowing them the incredible joy of joining God’s work in the world using this creativity.

Speaking in front of a group is daunting, but God, the sustainer of life, leads some to speak with power, encouraging and discipling his people.

Writing from a dark place in your life is painful, but God, who defeated death forever, motivates some people to use their writing to build up his children during their darkest hours.

God does not need your book. But he loves it when you exercise your abilities for his glory and not your own.

God does not need your author platform, but when you serve and encourage other people he is pleased you used your time well to build others up.

God does not need your book to become a bestseller, but once in a while he uses something to draw many people to him in a powerful and mighty way.

God grants his children the privilege of joining his work, no matter what you do.

Like writing.

Finally, God does not need you to put in the thousands of hours of work to become a good writer. But through the painstaking process, you see and learn things only total commitment to something worthwhile can reveal.

 

53 Responses to God Does Not Need Your Book

  1. Vicki Deem September 5, 2017 at 3:40 am #

    I always thought the insistence that God doesn’t need us is a discouraging and disrespectful notion. He does need us. He is love, and love needs an object. Why else would He create us and go to such extremes to bring us into relationship with Himself? He is also Father, and fathers need their children. It’s a different kind of need than our more dependent need, to be sure. But it’s real need, all the same.

    • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser September 5, 2017 at 6:33 am #

      Vicki, I totally agree with you. And as a further proof, Christ the Bridegroom is undefined without a bride.

      • Linda Riggs Mayfield September 5, 2017 at 10:31 am #

        Dan,
        Ah, semantics! We equate being needed with being necessary for someone’s function or happiness. We all want to feel needed, and it might be very difficult to let go of the notion that the One who matters most to us doesn’t “need” our books at all. But it seems to me that we ought to be willing to separate who we are from what we do. As important as having me in his family is to God, He doesn’t have to have my books in print in order to accomplish His will. (What? It’s not all about me??? ;-D) The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines the verb “need” as “to require something/somebody because they are essential or very important, not just because you would like to have them.” I think the “essential” half of that pretty well sums up God’s view of us, and the “very important” part is how He sees our writing. Making me happy (or multi-published) is not a necessity to God–it’s not even a priority. The Bible is clear that the important thing is allowing things in my life that will conform me to the image of Christ, and Jesus’ life on earth was far from comfortable or easy! We don’t want to hear that–we have somehow bought into the idea that our justified expectation of God is that He’ll make us materially or socially prosperous (or well-known, or widely read), but His goal for us is that we become more and more like Christ. Thanks, Dan.

    • Anne Braly September 5, 2017 at 10:57 am #

      I understand your “God doesn’t need your book”. Thank you.

      Perhaps if more writing were anonymous it would bless more readers – getting the messenger out of the way.

      You need not mention my name for this reply.

      • Jan Tanaka September 20, 2017 at 6:54 pm #

        A sobering and humbling thought. How willing would I be to remove my name from something I’ve penned?

  2. Name* September 5, 2017 at 5:23 am #

    Wow powerful message, we need him, he need nothing from us, and he is the giver of every good gift. God is happy when we use his gift and ablity to serve our fellow humanity. God is love… He have many ways of reward or paying us for the services we do to our fellow human being. God bless you.

  3. Penny September 5, 2017 at 5:24 am #

    Thanks Dan! I needed to read this today. I’ve been editing my first novel over and over. The Lord has kept me on a journey with twists and turns. Sometimes, I wanted to give up, but I kept persevering at a snail’s pace. Thanks to two great editors, I’m on my last edit.

  4. Karen Saari September 5, 2017 at 5:29 am #

    Amazing, thank you for sharing that, Dan. I’m at a crossroads in my present novel – do I go this way or that way? Your post helped me a great deal, by putting everything into perspective. I think now, as long as I bring glory to Him, which way my story goes is irrelevant.

  5. Patricia Schmitt September 5, 2017 at 5:39 am #

    Amen!!! Praise God for everything! Great message

  6. Gail Helgeson September 5, 2017 at 5:53 am #

    Amen.

  7. Deb September 5, 2017 at 6:05 am #

    Maybe it’s the word “need”? He does love us, and desires a relationship with us, but does He NEED us? Semantics.

    • Deb September 5, 2017 at 6:06 am #

      OOPS. Meant that as a reply on Vicki’s post.

    • Vicki Deem September 5, 2017 at 6:13 am #

      I meant need.

      • Lillian September 5, 2017 at 9:25 am #

        Vicki, I understand the idea you’re putting forth, but God really does not “need” us as individuals. His plans are not thwarted when we fail Him. As Jesus said of His disciples in Luke 19:40, “If they keep quiet, the stones would cry out.” Even the heavens declare the glory of God.

        God delights when He finds a willing vessel to accomplish His will, but, “without Him we can do nothing.” Not the same for God. He never runs out of resources or options. All creation is at His disposal. Without us, He can still do all things.

  8. Henry Styron September 5, 2017 at 6:15 am #

    Thanks, Dan, and very well said. It’s good to be reminded of this every so often. I suppose it’s also good to remember that we don’t NEED to be best-selling authors or internationally famous speakers or world-changing publishers or agents either, because God will supply all that we truly need if we but follow Him.

  9. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser September 5, 2017 at 6:16 am #

    Dan, I respectfully disagree. God DOES need us. He doesn’t have a Plan B.

    The individuality of His relationship with each one of us, vouchsafed through His atonement for our sin in the specific rather than in the mass, implies that our connexion with Him, and thereby our mission, is unique.

    If we don’t do what He asks of us, that part of His Work won’t get done. Yes, He will compensate for it (an the compensation will be perfection by definition), but our part of the original Plan is forever lost.

    He knows of the fall of each sparrow, and the sparrows matter, for He knows them by name.

    • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser September 5, 2017 at 6:35 am #

      As a QED, I’m writing from one of those dark places, and this morning told my wife that I’m lucky to be dying while I’m still young enough to enjoy the process.

      She replied, “You are the ONLY person on earth stupid enough to say that.”

      There you go!

    • Damon J. Gray September 5, 2017 at 7:37 am #

      Andrew, I’m not sure I agree … well, actually I am quite sure I do not agree. Don’t fall into the trap of equating choice with need. No, God does not have a Plan B, but that is by choice, not by need. God can save any, all, or none, and can do so using any means God chooses.

      Back to you, brother … I eagerly await your inevitable rebuttal. 😉

      • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser September 5, 2017 at 8:28 am #

        Good point, Damon!

        I think, though, that one could make a case for need being defined by choice. As an example, a para could choose to jump without a reserve parachute, but at the point of that choice, there arises the need that the main canopy deploys.

        So too for God; once He chose to define a role for the Body of Christ, a body made up of individuals whose very hairs are numbered, He set in place the need that all do what’s ordained to them.

        He can, of course, change the rules, but one could then argue that Creation itself would become meaningless, a place of chaotic inconsistency…and there’s nothing in Scripture to remotely suggest that possibility.

        The difference between God and our fearfully falling para is that God is a free agent, but the difference is not as vast as it may seem. The para’s choice can result in a messy death, but if we accept the viewpoint that the consequence more serious than death would be inability to carry out his mission, we move a bit closer to God.

        The para can’t be ‘replaced’; there are only so many seats on the 130 that carried him to destiny. His loss can be compensated, but not made good.

        And I think it is thus with the Body of Christ; God committed to a certain course of action, and to maintain internal consistency and coherence, He MUST need something from us, otherwise it all becomes rather a cruel and sordid game.

        Our contributions are needed; the book you write can be written by no other hand. If it’s lost, the world will wag on, but its specific influence and effect can never be re-created, and if there was no need for it in the first place, why, then did he even bother to define the calling in your heart?

        • Vicki Deem September 5, 2017 at 10:41 am #

          This is a good analogy, but I also like the parent analogy. When I asked my young children to assist me with a task, I genuinely needed their assistance. Oh, sure, I could have accomplished the same task on my own without their help. But in order to have them join me in my work, and to develop their knowledge, skills, and attitudes, I truly did need them to help, and I gave them a task that was a genuine assist to my overall task. I believe God develops us as his children in the same way. Whatever the task is, he can get it done one way or another without our help. But he really, really does need and want our help with something he has uniquely gifted us to do if he is going to achieve the higher goal of seeing his children to adulthood.

          • Jaime September 5, 2017 at 11:16 am #

            I think we’re all just viewing the word ‘need’ differently.

            When I ask my children to help me, I do ‘need’ them to follow through, but as you said, it’s for them to grow. So the need is in fact the children’s need. As one who loves them and cares where they end up, I need it for them. Not for me.

            I view need as something that without which I would be deficient, and God is not deficient in anything. There are things God needs for us to do in order for us to be complete, but the need is in fact our own, not God’s, if you view the word in those terms.

            If my children fail to complete the tasks I required of them, and grow up deficient in some area, I would be heartbroken for them and what they are missing out on, but nothing in my own life, practically speaking, will be less than it was. I won’t have unlearned anything. I will still be capable of doing whatever tasks I need to do to live my own life.

            That’s the type of need I think of in this post.

  10. Eric Kline September 5, 2017 at 6:28 am #

    Greetings Dan. I agree that God does not need my, or any, book. However, I believe that God does need love, and therefore man. That’s why He created man, and gave him a free will, so that man may freely choose to know and love God. That’s why Jesus prayer in John 17 that He wills, as the Father wills, that God and man should be one. That’s why the Church is called the Body of Christ. That’s why the Church is called the Bride of Christ. That’s why they’ll be a wedding ceremony in heaven forever uniting believers to God (clearly in a way we don’t understand or appreciate). So, while God does not need my book, He does need me (and you). Thanks.

    • Dan Balow September 5, 2017 at 6:36 am #

      Human words are always inadequate to describe our relationship with God. Need, will, desire, love, etc. have entirely different meaning to a finite and sinful human than to the infinite, perfect, holy Creator God.

      My perspective is tainted by my own limited and imperfect view, plus the fact that I see far too many proposals from authors who indicate their book will change the world and if I decline to represent it, I am standing in God’s way somehow.

      Oh, what a day it will be when our faith becomes sight and we can see how great God truly is and how much he loves us!

      • Callie Daruk September 5, 2017 at 7:08 am #

        Well said Dan, I heard your heart in the message and understand just where you are coming from.

  11. Beverly Brooks September 5, 2017 at 6:49 am #

    Amen Dan.

  12. Callie Daruk September 5, 2017 at 7:03 am #

    Dan, what a remarkable post about our sovereign Lord. We are the needy. I write from that place of utter need with every word. Thank you Dan.

  13. Barbara Ellin Fox September 5, 2017 at 7:20 am #

    This post really had me laughing because it’s so true. What a great privilege it is to be given gifts by the Creator of the Universe and what a blessing it is to have the opportunity to use those gifts.

    God may not need me to write books but it is one of my job assignments from Him and it thrills me.

    Thank you for this encouraging post.

  14. Damon J. Gray September 5, 2017 at 7:31 am #

    I have always found it interesting, while reading through the book of Acts, to note the way God always sends some person to do what He could easily have done himself. I do not believe it is inaccurate to say that this is true in every case in Acts. God could have appeared directly to the Ethiopian eunuch, but he chose to send Philip. God could have dealt directly with Cornelius, but he chose to send Peter. God could have knocked directly on the head of the jailer in Philippi, but he chose to send Paul and Silas. Over and over we see this pattern in Acts. God makes the choice to work through us. What an honor!

  15. Kristi Woods September 5, 2017 at 7:37 am #

    “But God…” – amen. Focus lingers there today, on the inconceivable power and ability of our God. Ewww-weee! Good way to hit the trigger on the week’s starter pistol, Dan.

  16. rochellino September 5, 2017 at 7:40 am #

    Dan, I believe you are correct. God certainly does not NEED our works and we are indeed privileged when we are allowed to assist in a project that He has well in hand. We are saved through His grace, not our works.

    Secondly, specifically in the case of evil doers, blasphemers, deniers of Jesus Christ, idol worshippers, followers of Satan, etc. it appears He does NOT need every one of us. Won’t we be judged? Isn’t there a lake of fire? Consider their purpose. Residents there certainly aren’t “needed”.

    He does of course WANT every one of us but its not going to be on our own flawed, politically correct and convenient human terms. We have been given clear and specific commandments and the free will to act and choose, He knows in advance what the outcome will be. It is us who are learning by our choices, not Him. Through this process we may ultimately see the light before its too late. NO part of His plan will go unfulfilled as a result of human action.

    Kudo’s to you for having the fortitude to broach this subject!

  17. Boni Daniel September 5, 2017 at 8:04 am #

    God can do without us but we cannot do without Him. We need Him for everything. If God want or choose to use your book He will make a way for it to become published.

  18. Marjorie Hill September 5, 2017 at 9:04 am #

    Thanks so much for reminding me He doesn’t need me but I need Him. Especially that He wants to use me. I pray I will be encouraged always. The outcome is His.

  19. Dave Stover September 5, 2017 at 9:08 am #

    Dan, you have sparked the interest and the love of many of us. I subscribe to the “God dwells within” theology. What we individually do with that divine spark marks us all. Faith cannot be measured, but enjoyed, nurtured, pass along to others and used to guide our every step. I remember someone saying that all novels are about love. Wow, thoughts to live by and to work toward.

  20. Lillian September 5, 2017 at 9:40 am #

    To those who have difficulty with the concept that God does not need us, I have copied my response to Vicki, a previous commentator. Theology aside, Dan’s post is profoundly accurate. The Creator is sovereign over His created. Think about it. If the potter can create more pots, then he is not dependent on anything he has already created.

    “Vicki, I understand the idea you’re putting forth, but God really does not ‘need’ us as individuals. His plans are not thwarted when we fail Him. As Jesus said of His disciples in Luke 19:40, ‘If they keep quiet, the stones would cry out.’ Even the heavens declare the glory of God.

    God delights when He finds a willing vessel to accomplish His will, but, ‘without Him we can do nothing.’ Not the same for God. He never runs out of resources or options. All creation is at His disposal. Without us, He can still do all things.’

    • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser September 5, 2017 at 10:18 am #

      Lillian, we can’t thwart His plans, but we can break His heart. We’re not pots; we’re His beloved daughters and sons, and if our seat at the table is empty, no one else can fill it.

      The banquet will go on, but the revelry will be one voice short, and that was never the plan.

      • Carol Ashby September 5, 2017 at 10:46 am #

        So true, Andrew, and I want to do my part to help others get to the table as soon as possible so they can enjoy every course and the table fellowship, not just the final cup of coffee.

  21. Ross September 5, 2017 at 9:46 am #

    Thanks, Dan, for the post. I have a hunch it’s when we realize we are expendable that God really begins to use us. It is very good news that He will not share His glory with another.

  22. Carol Ashby September 5, 2017 at 10:40 am #

    I agree that God does not “need” us, but He has given each of us assigned tasks to accomplish for Him. Could He use another person or even no one at all to accomplish any of them? Of course. He’s God. Are we responsible for taking the assignment and pouring our heart, mind, and strength into getting it done? Absolutely. Jesus made that very clear to his followers, including us.

    When He’s given us a task (and sometimes we can be very certain He really did, including writing a specific book and getting it to print where it can do something beyond what we gain ourselves in the writing of it), we’d jolly well better obey the Master and get it done to the point where it can accomplish what He intended. But we don’t ever do that on our own. He’ll provide everything we need to succeed at the right time and in the right way.

    If God really did give us the assignment, we shouldn’t refuse to say so. But if we know He didn’t, we’d better not be saying He did. That’s taking the Lord’s name in vain in a big way. That’s serious sin, and I don’t ever want to be guilty of that one.

  23. Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D September 5, 2017 at 10:41 am #

    Dan, you have said so much so concisely. Thanks for the posting.

  24. Nancy Jo September 5, 2017 at 10:57 am #

    Thank you. Humbling and calling to mind that our purpose in the vast universe is to sow His eternal seeds in whichever way He chooses.

  25. Nancy Jo September 5, 2017 at 10:58 am #

    Thank you. Humbling and calling to mind our purpose in the vast universe is to sow His seeds in whichever way He chooses.

  26. John de Sousa September 5, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    I read the fascinating responses to Dan Balow’s blog about God not needing us or our efforts, and barely resisted the urge to defend him against some of the comments. When I left my computer and walked into kitchen for coffee, there seated at the table in full knightly attire, was Emmett, my inner theologian. I raised my right eyebrow and gave him “the look”. He held his arms out, wrinkled his forehead and demanded “What??”
    “You are not going to war on this. At least not dressed like that?”
    “You have a problem with my outfit? Everything I’m wearing is biblical. I’ve got the breastplate, the helmet…”
    “Yeah, yeah, I get it. Shield of faith, belt of truth.”
    “And..”
    “And if you rip the cushion of that chair with your armor, I’m going to be very upset. I’m not insured against knights. Specified perils only. You know, fire and theft, that kind of thing.”
    “There are more important issues at stake here than your temporal possessions. I thought you would know that.”
    I pulled a K-cup from the box and loaded the machine. “Yes, you’re right. Which is why I’m not sending you into battle.”
    He stood up. “Excuse me?” As he did, a distinct sound of fabric shredding, cut the air. He pretended to ignore it.
    “You think you’re suited up because you fulfilled Ephesians six. But you forgot the exhortation to the Corinthians, that above all these things to put on love. If you had done that, you would be rescuing the brethren from the snare of the enemy, and not beating them into a stupor, doing his work for him. Aaand… I would not be out of a dining room chair. That’s a matched set you know!”
    He looked down at the slain cushion, then looked back at me with an awkward expression. “God will supply all your needs” he said.
    “Yes, He will,” I replied. “And He has supplied me with a heart bursting with love, that doesn’t need to stroke my ego to make my point. Now go put it on, before you step one foot out of this house.” He looked at me silently for a long moment, then turned to head back to the bedroom.
    “And toss me some creamers before you go. They don’t have to be sweet, but they should at least be rich. I love my coffee, but black is just too bitter.””

    • Rebekah Love Dorris September 5, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

      *Cough* *sputter*

      Emmett? Like Andy Taylor’s friend the handyman? Methinks you got him confused with someone named Clive Staples. Or Gilbert Keith. Or Charles Haddon.

      1 Thessalonians 5:8
      But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

      Brilliant.

    • Natalie Hidalgo September 6, 2017 at 11:06 am #

      I love it. Thanks for the great visual. I think I need to name my inner theologian.

  27. Judi Clarke September 5, 2017 at 11:14 am #

    Interesting discussions here. Here are a couple Scriptures on the topic:

    “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things” (Acts 17:24-26 NASB).

    “For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:27).

    “Even from eternity I am He, And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:13).

    The thing that is the most exciting and astounding is that though God does not need us, He wants us.

  28. Carol Nicolet Loewen September 5, 2017 at 11:24 am #

    I too appreciate these words, Dan. That our God would give us the privilege of joining with him in creativity, worship, service is amazing! I wrote my own article called “But God …” after going through terminal illness, transplant surgery, and death of my first husband and am grateful for these words that speak truth in the middle of our life storms. Thank you!

  29. David Wendel September 5, 2017 at 11:59 am #

    Hi Dan,

    I believe you are absolutely correct – God does not need us! But as I read your well written blog article, I think you imply that God does get Joy out of allowing His creation to love Him and “create” with Him.” God is love and love is always inclusive. God works in ways that are consistent with who He is as Love. God doesn’t “need” us but He does love us and love implies a relationship. In this case the relationship is one that is consistent with God’s personality. Personally, I am happy that I am loved by God, and have been created so I can love God in return.

    Thanks for your masterful blog!

  30. Rosemarie Malroy September 5, 2017 at 12:46 pm #

    How wonderful to know that God does not need us, but still includes us in His plans. Thank you for reminding me of this.

    God bless, Rosemarie Malroy

  31. Joey Rudder September 5, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

    Amen! What a powerful post. Thank you, Dan.

  32. Rebekah Love Dorris September 5, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

    As a college girl at my state university working in the business office, the distinguished Director of Student Activities doubled as a preacher on the weekends. His whispered voice would rise to a thundering echo filling my corridor office as he’d try to quietly share his Sunday sermon in passing. I imagined the “Welllll”s and the “Mmm-hmmm”s of his colorful congregants as he’d get into the sermon.

    One day he said, “Sister Rebekah, the Christian life is a paradox. Everything is backward. Get lower to rise. Give to get. Predestination and free will. None of it makes sense. It’s all a riddle. A paradox.” And he walked away, chuckling and humming in that deep baritone.

    This reminds me of that day. If we could understand, where’s the fun?

    It’s all a paradox.

    God bless.

  33. Anonymous September 5, 2017 at 5:30 pm #

    I think Paul preached a similar message to yours on Mars Hill:

    “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things…”

    Acts 17:24-25

    🙂

  34. Dan Balow September 5, 2017 at 6:10 pm #

    A lively discussion today. Thanks to everyone who contributed to an interesting interchange.

    My post next week will move to the other end of spectrum of theological importance. You won’t need to think nearly as hard.

    In fact, start to practice rolling your eyes and shaking your head.

    There will be a lot of it going on next Tuesday.

  35. Natalie Hidalgo September 6, 2017 at 11:25 am #

    Thanks for the reminder. God does not need. To imply that would be to say a perfect God is less than perfect. However, He does choose to want, He can choose to need. I am finishing my first book Calling all Zombies to hopefully open dialog with the churched teens filling our youth groups who have heard it all, yet are not born again.

    I do not think for a moment that my book will change the world. But if it is a tool that the Lord will choose to use to bring one soul to him, it will change eternity. Every soul God brings to him changes the family dynamics. It changes my eternity and your eternity, it changes the family. That is a thrilling hope. He doesn’t need our stories, or labors of love, but He might just choose to use them to change eternity.

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