Summary: Introduction No two people are exactly alike. Nor have they ever been or will they be. We are different from one another in so many ways. We have different fingerprints; eye, hair, and skin colors; heritage; intelligence levels; and personalities, not to
Hunger and Thirst The Way to Happiness
Text: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6).
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:1-6
No two people are exactly alike. Nor have they ever been or will they be. We are different from one another in so many ways. We have different fingerprints; eye, hair, and skin colors; heritage; intelligence levels; and personalities, not to mention height and weight. But we all are alike in that we hunger and thirst. Jesus, in his usual manner of simplifying that which is complicated, used this common demonstration to express the truth of the fourth way to happiness.
"Blessed [happy] are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." That is certainly a strange statement. How could hunger or thirst make a person happy? Jesus explained that the right kind of hunger and thirst leads to happiness.
Jesus is actually asking, "How much do you want righteousness? As much as a hungry person wants food? As much as a thirsty person wants water?" Then he asserts that if you truly hunger and thirst after righteousness, you will be blessed, or happy. But why?
Hunger and thirst are the way to happiness:
I. Because of the things they suggest.
Just what do the words "hunger" and "thirst" suggest? From one viewpoint, they suggest agony and pain (especially if you are on a diet). But Jesus looks on the bright side of hunger and thirst. These words suggest four positive things-life, health, growth, and enjoyment.
A. Life. As soon as all babies enter this world they hunger and thirst for one reason: they are alive! And as soon as you are born into God’s kingdom, you begin to hunger and thirst for righteousness. Peter said, "As newborn babies, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2).
In west Texas a normal mesquite tree uses fifty-five gallons of water per day in the summertime. That is why so many of them are destroyed; the water is better used for grass. Nevertheless, the moment a mesquite tree stops drinking, it is dead. Similarly, if you do not hunger or thirst for righteousness, perhaps you have no life! But where there is hunger, an inner yearning for more, you can know that you have the life Christ came to give. And this life always brings happiness!
B. Health. A Christian who insists on attending church every week, who looks forward to Bible study, and who always offers a helping hand to those in need has good spiritual health. A Christian who loves to worship with fellow believers, who has an appetite for Bible reading and study, and who just can’t get enough of God will always receive a good report from the Great Physician on his or her spiritual checkup. Those who are spiritually healthy are happy.
C. Growth: To hunger and thirst for righteousness means to eat well spiritually. When we regularly feast on nourishment from God, we grow. As we grow we hunger and thirst for the deeper, or meatier, things of God. The church at Corinth experienced delayed spiritual growth because they remained satisfied with the milk of God’s Word and developed no appetite for the meat of his Word. Therefore, Paul wrote to them, "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly-mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready" (1 Cor. 3:1-2 NIV).
D. Enjoyment. Maybe I had a better appetite as a boy, but it seems like no one makes pecan pies or chocolate cakes as good as my mother did. Eating was, and still is, something to be enjoyed. But a healthy appetite is essential to enjoying a meal. Those who hunger for righteousness enjoy feasting on God’s Word. They enjoy Christian worship, prayer, and fellowship. As they satisfy their appetite they will experience happiness.
II. Because of the lessons they teach.
When you are hungry or thirsty you can learn a number of things that you might never learn otherwise. If lost in a desert, you might learn to retrieve water from a cactus plant or find wild berries. Likewise, hunger and thirst for righteousness can teach us many lessons.
A. Things cannot fully satisfy. Jesus said, "It is written: ’Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God"’ (Matt. 4:4 NIV).
Do you remember old King Midas who had such a hunger for gold that he wished all he touched would turn into gold? One day his wish was granted. All he touched turned into gold-his furniture, dinnerware, clothing, everything! And it was all so wonderful until his little girl came running home. When he reached out to touch her, she also turned to gold. It was then that King Midas realized that things alone cannot fully Satisfy. As Jesus said, "A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his Possessions" (Luke 12:15 NIV).