Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5: 6)
It may be hard to comprehend the urgency of this beatitude because we may never have faced serious hunger or dire thirst. Unlike most of us, the average person in Jesus’ day knew life-threatening hunger and thirst. When we’re hungry, we open the refrigerator. When we’re thirsty, we turn on the faucet. The hungering and thirsting Jesus is talking about leads to death if not satisfied.
Do we hunger for righteousness like a starving person? Thirst for fairness like someone who’s dying for water? Being hungry and thirsty for righteousness means we fervently desire for God to put things right and passionately want justice for all.
Just like we need to eat and drink every day, so people who hunger and thirst for righteousness daily need to see justice. They don’t hunger for periodic but for perpetual righteousness. They don’t thirst for partial but for total righteousness.
In some ways, this beatitude is very demanding—it’s hard to imagine wanting righteousness like a starving person. In other ways, this beatitude is also very comforting. It’s our desire for righteousness, not our possession of it, that brings God’s blessing. We can trust that our hunger and thirst for righteousness come from God and that God will satisfy the desires He inspires.
Jesus is praying that we’ll hunger and thirst for righteousness. He knows that such hunger and thirst changes our hearts and motivates us to act more justly. This hunger and thirst help us to see the lack of righteousness in our world and compels us to do something about it. There will be no peace until there’s justice for all, and there will be no justice unless people have the basic things they need—food, water, housing, and work.
I encourage us to think about what we hunger and thirst for. So many of the things we desire don’t satisfy our deepest needs. But when we hunger and thirst for righteousness, Jesus says we’ll be filled—that is, we’ll be given peace.
God will bless us when we hunger and thirst for righteousness because we’ll be having the same hunger and thirst God has for all of His children.
- What do you hunger and thirst for?
- Do the things you hunger and thirst for satisfy the needs of your heart and soul?
- Jesus wants us to hunger and thirst for righteousness because He wants fairness and justice for all. Do you want what Jesus wants? If so, how are you working on fairness and justice for others? If not, what needs to change in your life so that you do?