What Are You Hungry For?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

A couple of memories from childhood. When I was growing up, eating out was not as common occurrence as it is for my family today. When we did eat out it was usually a special occasion and there was rarely a lot of discussion on where we were going to eat. Today, we eat out enough with enough regularity that the experience is usually preceded with questions like, “where do you want to go?” Or, “what are you hungry for?” I can also remember as a kid being forced to eat foods I gladly choose to eat today. Now that we have children, I know that my experience is by no means unique. There are things our children will taste only with the utmost urging and the assurance that what we want them to try really is quite good. Often they are not at all impressed. As we grow and mature physically, our tastes and appetites also change.

It has been decades since I purchased a “spool” of cotton candy to consume for myself. My more recent experiences have been buying some cotton candy for one of our children and sampling a bite. Usually one bite is more than sufficient to remind myself that eating cotton candy is about the same as shoving a spoonful of sugar into my mouth. To me, it is overly sweet and does not satisfy any real hunger I might have. I have learned that cotton candy does not satisfy and when I feel physical hunger there is absolutely no temptation to try to fill up on this sugary confection. However, at a subconscious level, I am not so quick to give up on satisfying other “hungers” with things that do not really nourish. Hungers such as feeling loved and accepted, believing life has meaning and purpose, confidence that things really are going to work out. From where we stand the grass always looks greener someplace else and shortly after we “upgrade” to the new toy it becomes boring or ready to be replaced by the next new shiny thing.

The prophet Isaiah makes the point by asking some questions:

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Isaiah 55:2

We know that neither Isaiah here, nor Jesus in the verse at the beginning of the post are really speaking of physical food and hunger. They are both referring to our desire and drive to make sense out of life, to give life meaning. The beatitude above (Matthew 5:6) is the halfway mark. The first three beatitudes describe what it means to hunger and thirst for righteousness. The broken, grieving person with nothing to say is ready to be filled by God. Once a person is emptied of all the cotton candy strategies to be satisfied in life, they are prepared to be filled.

The following questions can be answered for reflection:
Have I come to the place in my life where I want to know God and His will for my life more than anything? Am I more excited about God’s will for the world than my own financial gain, success in my career or acceptance by my peers? Do I long for God’s perspective in my decision-making?

“There is only One Being who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ,” wrote author Oswald Chambers


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