"You shall know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free"
Publisher / Editor:
Paul Hayden

The Necessity of a Necessity

May 13, 2024

In case you have yet to notice, I like to think outside the box. Sometimes, that gets me in trouble; but most of the time, this propensity has been a blessing in my life and others' lives. It's a distinctive trait that has opened people’s minds, hearts, and doors for me all over the world.

You've probably heard that necessity is the mother of invention. I like the idea of creating something new by understanding the necessity of a necessity to prompt us to action. 

Let me illustrate the “necessity is the mother of invention” concept with a fascinating story about ice cream and the invention of the ice cream sundae. I gleaned this story from author Zig Ziglar's book Something Else to Think About.  

“A merchant from Wisconsin named Smithson invented the ice cream sundae in 1890 out of necessity. In those days, his operation did not have enough ice cream-making capacity to deliver to homes on Sunday. So, to stay caught up, he reduced the amount of ice cream with each order and added chocolate syrup or some special topping. 

His ice cream mixtures were so well received that his customers asked him to serve the mixtures of ice cream on the other days of the week as well. He wanted to meet his customers' needs and desires, but some people objected to using the word Sunday because it was the Lord's Day. They felt that calling an ice cream dish after the Lord's Day was profane. That's when he modified the spelling to "sundae." Aha! And today, the ice cream sundae is still a favorite among millions of people.”

Just think. We never would have had the ice cream sundae had there not been the necessity of creating something new to meet the customer's needs. The next time you run out of something or need to change something, think of how to change it but not cheapen it. Who knows? It could be a bonanza like an ice cream sundae. And that extra something might turn a good thing into a great thing. What starts as something we think might be a risk soon the risk turns into a reward.

Here's a lesson from my life about necessity that birthed an invention in my life. 

Years ago, I owned a drag race car. The motor in the car was built according to the professional thinking of the day as far as the engine's components. But the motor wasn’t performing the way it should have. I had two choices. I could keep doing the same thing repeatedly, hoping for different results, or allow my necessity of winning races (that's what race cars are supposed to do) to motivate me to make some changes in the engine. So, I changed the engine. I changed two things in the motor: the camshaft and the exhaust headers. 

When I started the motor, I knew something had changed for the better. The sound of the engine was different. After making the changes, the car consistently ran one-half-second faster than the national record in my class. Before, I would struggle all day to get near the national record. Those two changes added fifty or sixty horsepower to the motor. I set the national record several times after that. You see, the horsepower was in the engine all the time. All it took was a reason (necessity) to discover it.

As a public speaker, author, and pastor, I have had to reinvent myself many times. I’ve had to increase in order to inherit. A God-directed transition is never to the lesser. It’s always to the greater. In life, there's such a time as this and such a time as that. Everything gets old, including what was once new for us. I needed to surrender what I was for what I could become. For me, necessity drove me to grow up rather than grow old.

My friend, Pastor Frank Dimazio, spoke these wise words about the necessity of changing to pastors. "I am a smart man raised by a smart man. Here's my word for you. You must keep reinventing yourself again and again. If you are making the same food that you did 30 years ago, your taste buds have dumbed down. Taste buds get used to bad taste. The church doesn't just grow by anointed preaching. The church grows by many things, not just one thing. Your tradition is not the only thing. Your past is not the only thing."

If you prefer the status quo, you will never redesign. Redesign means saying goodbye to normal. Normal is easy. Normal is the adversary of better. The problem is normal isn't working like it used to. That is the worst thing. The years pass, expecting different results from doing the same thing. Normal pulls us back from better. The necessity of adapting and anticipating change is what enables the fittest to survive.

When Jachin Mullen became pastor of his father’s church in Red Deer, Canada, he immediately found himself a pastor who had known him well for a long time. Jachin asked him, “What do I need to change about myself?” The pastor said, “Jachin, change your personality.”

Author James Clear reveals the necessity of upgrading ourselves. “You can ignore your weaknesses, but you can't expect them not to impact you. The weakness of the coach shapes the players. The weakness of the teacher influences the students. The weakness of the parent molds the child."

So, here’s your takeaway. What is the one thing you need to do and do it now? Is there something in your life that needs to change? Is it your personality? Is it your attitude? Is it your outlook? Is it your quirky personality? Is it your defensiveness? Is it who you need to hang out with? Is it your relationship with God? You might be thinking, “I don’t need to change.” Hint: Ask three people if you need to change.

Understanding and embracing the necessity of a necessity in your life allows you to stop circumventing issues and start reinventing changes. God is bringing us into his promises and purposes, and we must redesign to get there. And for heaven’s sake and your sake, please embrace the necessity of allowing Jesus into your life. That’s having and acting on the concept of the necessity of all necessities.

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com