“It was missing a piece. And it was not happy. So it set off in search of its missing piece.” The Missing Piece, Shel Silverstein
(image copyright, Shel Silverstein)
Many people live with a hunger and thirst in their spirit for something they don’t know how to quench, or even what it is. They try filling that hunger with things that don’t quite fit and, often, it leaves them even more ravenous for the soul-level answer to the emptiness inside them.
The delicious news is that the road to fulfilment can be found and it isn’t hard to digest!
The fourth beatitude is the appetizer on the quest for that missing piece!
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6
I love that Jesus uses the metaphor of food and drink here to symbolize our desire for spiritual fulfilment! After all, we experience these physical sensations as soon as our bodies are in need of sustenance and refueling; it only makes sense that our spirits need refilling regularly as well.
The Greek word translated here as “hunger and thirst” means to “heartily desire something as a vital necessity to life itself”. In other words, our bodies crave something major in order to sustain life. (Rumor has it there are people on this earth without an appetite and need to be reminded to eat. I hate them already. Just kidding, kind of… 😉 But for the majority of us, our natural instinct for food and drink kicks in as physical hunger and thirst so that we can continue to live!) Same thing happens spiritually.
And what Jesus wants us to hunger and thirst for is righteousness. Please don’t get tripped up with that word! It’s not legalistic or meant to make you feel inferior! That word is translated from a word that simply means “to be alright, and have everything functioning well within the will of God”.
“‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matthew 4:4, NLT
So, if you follow me and if we make that connection spiritual, Jesus is telling us that if we do not continually feast on His word, we will waste away spiritually. That doesn’t sound like a lot of fun…
Activity arouses our hunger, doesn’t it? This past weekend, the Chicago Marathon was held. A friend of mine who ran in it said he was so hungry after, he ate a small pizza, a milkshake, three bananas, a chopped salad, and drank about a million glasses of water! And this was all before cheeseburgers and fries for dinner!
That made me think about this week’s lesson and how we get so hungry spiritually. The more we are tested and tried spiritually and wrestle through it, the hungrier will we be. Ring the dinner bell, people! It’s time to load up on the Word!
Here’s a great quote from Jennifer Dean Kennedy:
“Scripture is God’s word. Jesus is the Living Word, the Word embodied, and He lives in me. I think about it like this: Jesus, present in me and in me eternally, breaks the bread of the Word and feeds it to me, bite by bite. Like food in my body, it is digested and made available to my spirit, to my mind, to my emotions. I absorb it into my soul’s cells where it releases power and cleansing and nourishment and growth….It transforms. It renews the mind. It restores the soul. It energizes and corrects.”
Here’s the cool thing about filling up on Christ: Jesus taught his disciples for three years. He handpicked them, lived and traveled in close proximity with them, share with them everything he possibly could: meals, miracles, healings, lessons, visions, and prophecies.
So, as we move through these powerful lessons on becoming more like Jesus, do you see a pattern developing? He begins his lessons with the disciples getting their hearts ready, then he shifts a bit and says, “Now, here are the things I want you to focus on”, and then spend the next three years demonstrating to them how to do it.
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Matthew 11:29, MSG
Spiritually filling up is a daily process that need repeating, just like getting our daily intake of food and drink! Luckily, in Jesus, we can continually go to the source, fueling up for what’s ahead.
God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. Romans 8:28-29, MSG
In Shel Silverstein’s follow-up book to The Missing Piece, he paints a beautiful word picture of what it’s like to watch the “One” who is full in action, listen to “His” advice, and then to mimic “His” movements:
“Then, slowly…it lifted itself up on one end…it began to move forward. And soon its edges began to wear off…and its shape began to change…and then it was off and rolling…” The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, Shel Silverstein
(image copyright, Shel Silverstein)
Is that beautifully cool, or what?!
So how do we re-write this one, beatitudinally?! Like this, sweet friends:
Blessed are those who fill up on the good stuff from God whenever they feel “hungry”, for they will be rightfully satisfied and refueled.
Following along with us via the blog? Click here for this week’s homework! Want to hear what we’re listening to this week? Click here for the yummiest song of our entire session: “Be Held”, by Casting Crowns. It’s HONESTLY almost everyone’s favorite on the CD!!! 😉
Much love and gratitude to each and every single one of you!
PS: The two Shel Silverstein books mentioned here are NOT to be taken as direct metaphors or allegories regarding this week’s lesson. Simply take them at face value for the word pictures used in this post! Thanks! 🙂
Up Next Week: Beggin’ for Mercy…