I don’t remember when I first heard it, but I learned some time ago the importance of the clarifying question, “with respect to what?” Whether it’s a promise, request, or a statement of fact or opinion, it’s important to ask, “with respect to what?” I’ve been facing that question as I read the next Beatitude. The Beatitudes are statements of “fact” and “promises.”
We’ve been especially focusing on the second half of each beatitude. Jesus says, “. . . they shall be satisfied.” That’s quite a statement and promise. We are so rarely satisfied with anything! Satisfaction appears so fleeting and impermanent. What would happen to our economy if we all were satisfied?!
Should a Christian be “satisfied”? This is where the “with respect to what?” question is important.
Jesus promises this to the “hungry and thirsty.” We are certainly “hungry” and “thirsty” people. We are hungry and thirsty for many, many things. Is Jesus promising to “satisfy” all our “hungers,” to quench all of our “thirsts”? I’m not going to begin to attempt to answer that question comprehensively here, but it’s one that’s worth our contemplation.
In this Beatitude, Jesus is addressing those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” He promises that they will be satisfied. That might make you groan or lose hope. However, I think that, rather than narrow or limit the scope of “who will be satisfied,” Jesus actually is broadening and deepening it. Regardless of how they might become twisted or misdirected, do you know that all of your hungers and thirst are actually for “righteousness”? It’s true that much of our “appetite” is warped and twisted, but we’re not going to get anywhere if we fail to figure out that which is the root and source of our hunger and thirst.
So, as we prepare to meet with God together, I have some questions for you to ponder:
- What do I hunger and thirst for?
- Does the thought of “being made right with God” hold any value to me?
- Do I worship a God who satisfies?
Take some time to reflect on these things as you read Matthew 5:1-16 in preparation for worship this Sunday. Hopefully the quotes and meditations below will help with this.
What is hunger and thirst after righteousness? It is Divine discontent with everything unlike God. Do not make this a small and narrow personal experience. It is that, but it is infinitely more. It is the passion for the setting up of the Kingdom of God amongst men. It is the thing that makes you- if you are a Christly soul – hot, restless, angry, and discontent, in the presence of all the mal-administration of the affairs of men, which results in the ruin and sorrow of men on every hand. The people who hunger and thirst after righteousness are frantic. G. Campbell Morgan
At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily. Flannery O’Connor
Because I longed for eternal life, I went to bed with harlots and drank for nights on end;
I slept in bliss but awoke with the bitter taste of the mortal state. Albert Camus, The Fall.
Every man who has ever knocked on the door of a brothel was looking for God. G.K. Chesterton