Do I really need this?


By Richard Gammill

Special to The PREVIEW

There are many products on the market today that I simply don’t understand. This is a real problem for the manufacturer and vendor. I will not buy their product if I am not sure exactly what it does and why I need it, no matter how often I see their commercials.

I must belong to a “lost generation” for Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and other high-tech companies. I have lived more than seven decades without buying and using products they now insist I deserve to own.

I can still flip switches, push buttons, turn dials, start my car and many other things on my own. I can brew coffee, heat a pan of water, and turn on lights without telling some device to do these things for me. I’m hopeless.

Then I remember that in 1980, many of our friends owned microwave ovens. My wife insisted, “I don’t need one and we can’t afford one.” Today, it is hard to imagine any household not having a microwave oven. How did I ever heat my soup for a quick lunch? Are some of these new products destined to fill an essential place in my life in time to come?

James 4:2 says, “You have not because you ask not.” Why is that? In many cases, it is that we think we don’t need what Jesus offers: salvation, peace with God, peace within ourselves. Life is what it is and I am making it as well as I can, thank you. I can push my own buttons.

In fact, what I really need is a high-paying job, a beautiful house with low payments, a luxurious SUV that will take me on great vacations. Jesus never promised me any of these things, but that is what it will take to satisfy my needs.

A resident of Beverly Hills is quoted as saying, “There is a lot of pleasure in my neighborhood but not much joy.” Isn’t pleasure enough? Why do we need joy (whatever that is) when we have all it takes to make us happy? Besides, there are many ways to find pleasure — and some of them are legal. What more should I ask?

Deion Sanders, the only athlete in history to win two Super Bowls and also play in baseball’s World Series, had it all. Yet, when he wrote his autobiography, he titled it “Power, Money and Sex: How Success Almost Ruined My Life.” Following a bitter divorce from his first wife, he attempted suicide by driving his car over a 40-foot cliff, from which he emerged unscathed. His 29,000-square-foot home in Prosper, Texas, had every luxury feature imaginable. When he put it on the market, he listed it for $12.7 million.

Deion said, “I was empty, no peace, no joy. Losing hope with the progression of everything.” After his suicide attempt, he decided his life was worth living after all. “I finally just got on my knees and gave it all to the Lord.”

Now, after what he calls “switching teams,” Deion says, “I don’t believe you can be at your optimum without your faith, sports is sports, it’s a game. My faith is everything. It’s the gas that propels the courage, the truth, keeps me going. It’s the wind, it’s the wings, it’s the air that pumps into my lungs, that provokes me to live. Faith is everything.”

A man with everything discovered what he had not admitted needing.

Today, Sanders is a member of Vision Regeneration Church in Dallas and has teamed up with Stand Together, a Dallas agency working to eradicate poverty and youth violence. He continues his sports career as a commentator with the NFL network.

Will I ever have Echo or Alexa around to answer to my every request? I may or may not decide I need that. But faith in a living God is what I do need.

Postscript: On Thursday, Jan. 31, a new feature-length “30 for 30” documentary on ESPN will take a close look at an unbelievably eventful few days in Sanders’ life. The film captures the 24 hours in October of 1992, when Sanders sandwiched a pro football game between a pair of postseason baseball games in two different cities, located 1,000 miles apart.