Introduction: No matter how you cut it, 72 ounces is 4 1/2 pounds.
That is a lot of meat. In an upscale steakhouse chain, a 4 1/2 pound steak would cost you around $200.
At The Big Texan, in Amarillo, TX, it is absolutely free; If you can eat it in an hour. While everyone else in the restaurant watches.
Many people have tried to eat the Big Steak and here are some amazing facts…
Approximately 42,000 people have tried to eat the BIG STEAK DINNER, which includes; a 72oz. sirloin, a baked potato, salad and a shrimp cocktail. 7,000 have been successful.
The oldest person to eat the meal was a 69 year old grandmother
The youngest an 11 year old boy
Approximately five women attempt to eat the big steak meal each year – two succeed.
Professional wrestler “Klondike Bill” has eaten two complete dinners in less than an hour.
The record for eating the meal the fastest goes to former Cincinnati reds pitcher, Frank Pastore – his time 9 minutes and 30 seconds.
If you are going to eat a dinner at “THE BIG TEXAN STEAKHOUSE”, you had better come hungry.
We seem to be a nation that obsesses over food – for many of us the bigger the better, many of us have heard those famous words asked at the temple of the Golden Arches, “Would you like to “super-size” your meal?”
Who has not heard of the “Whopper” or a Baconator! When it comes to food, we do not want to become hungry. Moreover, if we do become hungry our body lets us know it – THE GROWL and we are off to the fridge, looking in the cabinets or diving into the cookie jar wanting to be satisfied. We wanting to be avoid hunger.
Yet 2,000 years ago, on a mountain top in Israel, far from any golden arches or pizza huts – Jesus said, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Happy are the people who have a hunger for the things of God!
Jesus is not saying happy are those who have a desire for the things of God or happy are the ones who are seeking the things God, but happy are the ones who have an intense craving for the things of God. In the first 3 beatitudes Jesus has focused on empting oneself…
When you are poor in spirit, you realize you must empty yourself of your desires, your wants. It is at that point you can say to God and to others, “I NEED YOU”
When you mourn, you come to the realization, there are to be no more hidden sins in your life, you empty your secrets through brokenness and confession, first to god and then to one another by saying, “I AM SORRY”
When you become meek, you press down your wants and desires for the good of others, emptying your rights so others may grow in maturity. Thus you have the ability to say, “I RESPECT YOU”
Now Jesus changes gears – having emptied ourselves of the world’s wisdom and ways, Jesus now tells us the key to being filled or as the NLT puts it – BE SATISFIED, is to have a hunger and a thirst for something the world cannot give us; Righteousness; more to the point God’s righteousness.
Jesus is teaching his disciples, and us, the deepest desire of every person ought to be to hunger and thirst for righteousness. That is the spirit-prompted desire that will lead a person to salvation and him strong and faithful once he is a part of the kingdom.
Jesus says the way to happiness, the way of truly being truly blessed is the way of spiritual hunger and thirst. This beatitude leads us to ask several important questions…
What does it mean to hunger and thirst after righteousness?
Hunger and thirst represent the necessities of physical life.
Scientist and nutritionist have discovered one can go for weeks without food, but one can only go without water for about three days. When we go without vital nourishment, our body kicks in a mechanism, which begins to draw energy from our fat cells and eventually our muscles. In as little as 3 days without food, our body begins the process of taking from our surplus fat and muscle to survive.
Jesus is equating the need for righteousness with our need for food.
Just as food is necessary for the physical body to survive, so righteousness is necessary for the spiritual body survival as well. Just as food is not an option for the physical body, neither is righteousness an option for the spiritual body.
Must be the right kind of righteousness
Later on in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus will make a startling statement to both his disciples and the crowd, For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20
Imagine hearing those words for the first time. Your righteousness has to be better than that of the Pharisees. In Jesus day, the Pharisees were the picture of righteousness or what people thought was righteousness. They dressed a certain way, said all their prayers, and knew the OT Law. They were the first to arrive at the temple for worship and the last to leave. You want righteousness – look to the Pharisees. Jesus says, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven
In other words unless you are “more right” then the super religious – your not getting in to the party!
Imagine hearing those words for the first time. I think you would have only one of two responses;
One of no hope – why should I even bother, I cannot be like the Pharisees, They have had years of study, training and discipline to become a Pharisee how can I surpass them?
One of hopeless obsession – Looking to the Pharisees as your model and then trying to excel beyond their standards in order to be righteous enough to get in to the kingdom.
Both options lead to futility.
This leads us to our next question
What is the righteousness Jesus says we must hunger after?
Righteousness is to have God’s life within us through the new birth of Jesus Christ. Thus to hunger and thirst for righteousness is to strive to be more like God everyday
The righteousness Jesus is speaking of cannot be copied by watching Pharisees, it cannot be learned by memorizing a book of laws, not can it be obtained by doing good works. Righteousness, God’s righteousness only comes from the relationship we have with Jesus Christ.
B. God’s righteousness works in our life in two distinct ways
Salvation - When a person initially hungers for righteousness he seeks salvation. That righteousness comes when one turns from his sin to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
When he is poor in spirit, he sees his sin
When he mourns, he is broken by his sin
When he is meek, submits to God’s ways – pressing down his desires
In hungering for righteousness, he seeks God’s righteousness in Christ to replace his sin.
Sanctification (the process of becoming more like Christ)
For believers, the object of hungering and thirsting is to grow in the righteousness you have received. This growth, sanctification, is a mark of a true believer because he is striving to become more like Christ everyday. It is in sanctification you can say as the psalmist, As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Psalm 42:1-2
When you desire to have that kind of righteousness, when you have that kind of hunger for the things of God, It is at that point you can be filled with the righteousness that comes from God.
This leads us to our third question today
How does one become righteous?
Following the food analogy, we know a starving person has a single, all consuming passion for food and water. Nothing else has the slightest attraction or appeal, nothing else can get the attention of one who is truly starving for food.
Nothing else satisfies their desire but genuine food.
They can see a picture of food they can small the food, they can describe the food, but it is not until they consume the food are they truly satisfied.
In the same way, those without God’s righteousness are starved for a spiritual life.
You can describe a spiritual life
You may be able to identify a spiritual person
However, that will never make you righteous. You must put on the righteousness of God, by watching others hunger and thirst for righteousness.
You must experience God’s righteousness yourself. How – You can pay for your sin debt. The price tag is DEATH
Romans 6:23, the wages of sin is death. The price has to be paid!
Scientist have discovered an amazing fact, dead men do not hunger and thirst for… ANYTHING!
You can find a substitute – any volunteers? The book of Romans tells us, Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. Romans 5:7
Hard to find someone who will pay our debt – in fact I would say it is impossible.
Yet God found the solution – God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
God knew I could never pay the debt I owed, to gain his righteousness.
God knew no one would pay my debt for me
So God found the solution.
Romans 5 puts it this way,
6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I am able to hunger and thirst for righteousness because God provided a solution for my problem. And because God found a solution, when I hunger and thirst for the things of God, I will be filled – or satisfied.
That leads us to our final question of the day
How does hungering and thirsting for the things of God influence my relationships?
Because I hunger and thirst for righteousness – I want to be able to say, I will do what is right for you… always I will seek out what is best for you. Because that is what God has done for me.
B. How do I know what is right for you?
God’s word teaches me to do what is right
Psalm 82:3 Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed
Proverbs 21: 2-3, All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart. 3 To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
C. We practice righteousness when we seek…
To help those less fortunate then us, the psalmist says maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. The New Testament principle is to bear one another’s burdens. A burden was a heavy weight one was forced to carry. The burden may be a health issue or a financial issue it could even be a relationship issue. The key is that the burden is to great for one person to carry, so Paul commands us to carry one another’s burdens. Therefore, I practice righteousness when I come along side of you and lift that burden. I come along side of you help you with your burden. If possible I will take that burden from you – like god took my sin burden from me, but if that is not possible I practice righteousness by helping you carry the burden. Making it lighter to carry. Listen to the wise words of Solomon 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
D. We must be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading.
Jesus days blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – in other words those who are aware of the need for righteousness. Those who are aware of their need for righteousness are also aware of the need to practice righteousness. This means we must always be sensitive to the needs of people around us and take advantage of the Spirit’s prompting.
Too often, we are so busy in our world we fail to recognize the need to do right to others. Let me suggest two things you can do to help you be Spirit sensitive so that you can do right to others.
Be available – God uses people who are available to do right. Scripture is full of people who did the right thing because they were in the right place.
Be willing to do right – there comes a point where actions speak louder than words.
In The Sermon on the Mount Jesus said unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven
Unfortunately, the Pharisees had become so consumed with religious rituals they had failed to take to heart the idea of practicing righteousness. Therefore Jesus condemned their lack of action by saying, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
People who hunger for righteousness are people of action, helping serving and lifting of burdens. When we practice these things, then we receive the payoff, we are filled - Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled