When was the last time you were truly hungry? I don’t mean, “I could really go for some chocolate right now.” I don’t mean Daisy the yellow lab eyeing the treat in my hand. I mean faint-headed, pain-in-your-gut, can’t-think-of-anything-but-food hunger.
In modern-day America, true hunger is a rare thing, thank goodness. At Vacation Bible School this summer, a fourth-grade girl told me she was starving. She couldn’t go on. She couldn’t stand. I asked if she’d had breakfast. Oh yes, she said, and she described a big, balanced meal. I glanced at my watch—it was ten o’clock in the morning. Hoo boy. No, she—and I—have no idea what hunger really is.
When Jesus tells us, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6), it’s easy to read with modern American eyes. Sure, we hunger for righteousness. We want to spend more time with God. We wish we could be good. We’d like to do God’s will. We hunger—as we would for a mid-morning snack.
That’s not the hunger Jesus talks about. He talks about pining, craving hunger. The type of hunger when all you can think about is sustenance. All you can think about is Jesus. All you can think about is doing God’s will.
That kind of hunger comes with a promise. It will be filled. Satisfied. Satiated. If we hunger for righteousness, we will receive it.
Isn’t that reason enough to cultivate that hunger?