“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6
There are only a few times in my life that I can remember being truly hungry. I have lived a very blessed life in the sense that my basic needs have always been met and provided for. Still, there have been a few times when I’ve experienced the pains that hunger can bring. The first of these times for me was when I was in junior high school. Our youth group had signed up to participate in the 30 Hour Famine. We all raised financial support that was donated to the organization, and as a group we went without food for 30 hours. The ultimate goal was to give us a greater understanding of what a large portion of the world goes through on a daily basis and to break our heart for those who live in very real poverty. I remember how difficult it was to go without food, and it was really only for a day and a bit. When we got to about hour 15, my stomach started to tell me how unhappy it was with my decision. I tried to drink as much fluid as I could to trick myself into thinking that I was full, but my stomach was not fooled. I can still remember to this day how incredible food tasted after those 30 hours. I finally knew what it meant to hunger.
There have been a handful of other times that I’ve experienced hunger and need for food, and as I’ve grown closer to the Lord over the years, this hunger has taught me much about what it looks like to live a life desperate for God. Perhaps Jesus used such words as “hunger” and “thirst” in this verse because His audience was well acquainted with both. The crowds that flocked to Jesus were mostly people of humble means, people with great need, and people who were not ashamed to recognize that need. Jesus met them where they were and spoke intentionally and directly to their hearts.
Surrounded by the kind of abundance that we are, my guess is that many of us haven’t ever been exposed to such desperation for food and water that our resources couldn’t quickly provide for. We live blessed lives. We live overly abundant lives. And the temptation that comes with much is to believe the lie that we don’t need anything that we can’t provide for ourselves.
That’s where Jesus steps in and turns the tables upside down. He calls those who desperately need Him blessed. Are you absolutely desperate for more of God? Have you ever been? Do you crave righteousness and the things of the Lord as your body is made to crave its basic needs? Have you ever known what it is to be starved and dehydrated for more of Jesus? This is what Christ calls us to – a blessed life…and His version of one, not ours. To be blessed is to be desperate for Jesus and to be satisfied in Him alone. Let’s fix our affections on that one for a moment.
Are you thirsty?
Are you hungry?