Summary: Look at Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
The Happiness of a Hungry Heart
As Jesus continues to communicate the blessings that come from beatitude living, let’s summarize what we’ve learned so far.
Matthew 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The Almighty applauds us when we see our condition as spiritually and morally bankrupt before Him.
Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” We’re blessed when we’re broken, when we exhibit contrition.
Matthew 5:5: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Last week we established the necessity of our compliance as we yield our power to the One who alone is meek and lowly of heart.
In the fourth beatitude, Jesus uses a metaphor that we can all relate to because the desire for food and water are the strongest cravings that we have. Look at Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” The Message paraphrase puts it this way: “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.”
Did you know that Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest food consumption day of the year? Here’s a breakdown of what we’ll consume today (from www.nacsonline.com):
4 million pounds of popcorn
9 million pounds of tortilla chips
12 million pounds of potato chips
13 million pounds of guacamole dip
And sales of antacid will increase 20%!
All that junk food will make us thirsty as well. That reminds me of the man who is crawling through the Sahara desert when another man riding on a camel approaches him: “Water…please…can you give me…some water?” The man on the camel replies, “I’m sorry. I don’t have any water with me. But I’d be delighted to sell you a necktie.” The man responds, “I don’t need a necktie. I need water.” By now the man has lost all track of time, and crawls through the desert for what seems like days. Finally, parched with thirst, his skin peeling under the relentless sun, he happens upon a restaurant. With his last bit of strength he staggers to the door and grabs on to the headwaiter: “Water…can I get…water?” The waiter smiles and says, “I’m sorry, sir. Neckties required.”
Have you ever been so famished and so parched that all you could think about was food and water?
There are three parts to this beatitude and we’ll look at each one separately.
The Requirement “hunger and thirst”
The Reason “for righteousness”
The Reward “for they will be filled”
The word Jesus uses for “hunger” refers to the desperate craving that a starving person has for food. He is so famished that he becomes desperate for a dinner. The word “thirst” means to painfully feel the need for water. This is more than just needing a sip, it means to be parched and dehydrated to the point of pain.
To hunger and thirst means to be dissatisfied with our present situation. In essence, in order for our lives to change so that we can experience the spiritual satisfaction that only the Savior can provide, we must first admit that we are starving and thirsting. We all need to change. The reminds me of the guy who pleaded with his psychiatrist for help: “Doc, you’ve got to help me! I can’t stop believing that I’m a dog.” The psychiatrist followed up with a question: “How long have you had this problem?” To which the man replied, “Ever since I was a puppy.” While that might not be our problem today, my guess is that this series has messed with each of us. We know we’re not who we’re supposed to be, and we realize that there’s more to life than this world can offer.
Do you want to change? If so, then it’s time to develop an appetite for the Almighty. I’m no expert on developing a good diet because I’m sure I’ll have my fair share of chips and guacamole tonight, but let me offer three guidelines that will help us design a diet that will cause us to hunger and thirst for the right things. After all, we are what we eat.
1. Watch what you eat. Some of us have been consuming things that will not satisfy because they were never designed by the Creator to bring us fulfillment. One reason you may not be hungering for holiness today is because frankly you feel pretty full. Proverbs 27:7: “He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.” Maybe its time to admit that some of us are spiritual junk food addicts.
Have you heard about the guy who made a documentary in which he ate at a fast food restaurant three times a day for 30 days? In his film called, “Super Size Me,” Morgan Spurlock, a formerly fit filmmaker, packed on 25 pounds. When asked what happened to his body over the course of the 30 days, Spurlock responds, “My body just basically falls apart…I start to get tired; I start to get headaches…my blood sugar skyrockets, my cholesterol goes up off the charts…the doctors were like, ‘you have to stop.’” When he was asked how he felt at the end of the month, he shouts out, “I felt terrible…I would eat and I would feel so good because I would get all that sugar and caffeine and fat…and an hour later I would just crash – I would hit the wall and be angry and depressed and upset. I was a disaster to live with” (www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4078903).