Matthew 5:6New International Version (NIV – http://www.biblegateway.com)
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
How hungry and thirsty are you for righteousness? What really is righteousness? How deep is this yearning for these special people of God? How can we be used to fill this need? These questions come to my mind as I consider this passage today.
I have a friend that has told me that if I had unlimited funds I would feed the world. I love to cook, especially, for those I love and those who appreciate good food and great conversation. But, what about feeding those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness? In John 21: 15-19, “…. Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘…,do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’ Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’ The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ …He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’ ….Then he said to him, ‘Follow me!’” To me this means that believers are to be actively involved in feeding and caring for those who are seeking the righteousness that God/Divine has to offer. It also means that we take care of other believers who are searching for something deeper and want greater depth to their faith and beliefs. These words of Jesus to Peter are relevant to everyone called to be ministers in our community of believers. I have had these words flowing through my mind for the last ten years – I believe God/Divine has gifted each called person with this desire to feed the hungry and thirsty.
So, let’s take a closer look at the words Jesus uses to describe these blessed ones that He loves so greatly. Jesus uses the Greek word “peinaō ,“to describe the depth of hunger these people feel for righteousness. According to the Blue Letter Bible online helps, this means to be hungry, to hunger, to suffer want, to be needy, metaphorically, to crave ardently, to seek with eager desire. The word Jesus uses to describe the extent of those who thirst is, “dipsaō”. This means to suffer thirst or suffer from thirst. The Blue Letter Bible goes on to say, “figuratively, those who are said to thirst who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened.” Both of these words describe a craving so deep and consuming that the people who feel like this will do and search everywhere they go to be filled.
Now that we know the totality that these people crave and desire righteousness, let’s take a look at what they are craving “righteousness”. The word Jesus used here is “dikaiosynē,” which means, “in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God.” Going further, “the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting; in a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each his due.” (Blue Letter Bible) My question is, “Are we, the community of believers, providing the measure of teaching for these dear ones seeking to go deeper into this kind of righteousness?”
I have been searching for just this kind of teaching in a church community, and to be honest I haven’t found it. I have found it in certain Bible Study teachers in women’s Bible studies, which are not offered at a time that I can easily join. I am also finding that many churches have done away with adult Sunday school. Twenty minute sermons, written for predominantly new believers, delivered on Sunday morning is not going to do it for most mature believers. New and old believers crave a deeper connection to God and a deeper learning on working out our sanctification.
How do we address this problem of craving deeper righteousness? Well, to begin with, there needs to be Sunday morning adult education for all levels of belief. Another thing we need to do is ask people what they are hungering and thirsting for in their spiritual lives, and what they think the solution should be. Then we need to pray for the right people, who have been called to fill this need, to step forward and be instruments providing the feeding and care of these precious sheep.
My final questions are, “Are you hungry and thirsty for more of God/Divine in your life? Or, “Are you one being called to provide the food and drink for these starving people?’