Continuing with our look at Christ’s promises of blessing in the Beatitudes brings us to verse six:
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
To be blessed means to be fully satisfied, not just happy for the moment but eternally fulfilled. The promise in this verse is incredibly precious because Jesus Himself is the blessing received here. When our hunger and thirst is for righteousness, Christ is the only possible fulfillment. Humanity has no righteousness apart from Him. The blessing is in hungering and thirsting for the right thing and refusing to be satisfied with less.
Physical hunger and thirst are only vague concepts in the American mind. We see pictures of starvation and know facts of hunger in our country and around the world. Reality for most of us, though, is a land of plenty. Few of us know true hunger. Real hunger and thirst produce physical and emotional pain. Delusions accompany dehydration. Starving drives the kindest to horrendous pursuits. Prisoners of war speak of animal-like hunger that cancels basic human decency. Scriptures speak of horrendous realities that defy comprehension. We naturally avoid discomfort, but dulling hunger -- or discomfort of any kind -- is never the right goal. Right seeking is the basis for blessing.
The absence of physical hunger in most American lives is an excellent illustration. It is not hunger’s discomfort that pains the bulk of our population. Overeating has led to a glut of obesity and ill health. Avoiding the discomfort of hunger and thirst produces deadly results in our world. The snack and soda industry is booming. In this busy world, grabbing food on the go is the answer to hunger. It is a poor answer. The same is true in a spiritual sense. Just as physical hunger can be satiated with unhealthy things, spiritual hunger can as well. Instead of seeking Righteousness, we seek adventure, excitement, possessions, success or the next emotional high. We snack on activities, relationships, projects, and even ‘church.’. Those good things dull us from the only real satisfaction: feasting on Christ.
Jesus promises Himself to those who refuse to be satisfied by less. He will fill the heart that longs for Him. Often it is the fires of life that create the right hunger and thirst. We can praise Him in the midst of the fire. We can rejoice when things of this world do not satisfy our hearts because we have Christ’s promise. Jesus Himself will satisfy the heart seeking rightly.