15 March, 2016 40 days of change-Lent, 2016
Hungry – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6
If you’ve ever been around a toddler, you will be familiar with the incessant asking of why. Most of us grow out of that stage, but there are few that never do. They are the curious ones that grow up to be scientists and analysts, the joyful life-long learners. Their unquenchable appetite for knowledge makes them motivated to find out the answers. The rest of us may lose our appetite through distraction or we get use to just getting by with just enough. It’s like we’ve gone on a long fast; after 4 or 5 days of fasting you don’t actually feel hungry anymore. The hunger returns after day 40. So, between day 5 and day 40 you can forget to eat. That’s dangerous for health and in the realm of learning it will be fatal to a person’s ability to be taught, for a person will not be teachable if they are not hungry for knowledge.
Jesus intentionally created for himself and others a situation of hunger and thirst. He fasted for a long time at the beginning of his public ministry. We’re told angels attended to him at the end of his fast, and I’m sure he readily ate then. We know that at least on two occasions he taught for so long that the people around him were hungry and ready for him to feed them through the miraculous fish and bread. Would they have been as receptive to the lesson of the miracle if they hadn’t been hungry? Being hungry heightens our receptivity to food. Jesus referred to himself as bread and as water. The implication being he was the one that would resolve the hunger of humankind.
Unfortunately, we have abated that hunger within us. We have found other ways to cope. We fill ourselves with information low in spiritual nutrition. The books we read, the programmes we watch, the material we fill our brain with somehow lessens the natural hunger that God has put into us. If we do sense hunger pains for truth, we busy ourselves with distractions in the hope they’ll go away. So, without hunger for truth and knowledge, God can set a banqueting table before us, but we won’t touch it.
In the context of diets and fasts there’s a procedure called a cleanse. Often it includes not eating your normal diet and flushing your body with some horrible tasting liquid. Don’t worry I’m not suggesting the latter. But, maybe you could do a mental/spiritual cleanse. For today, how about foregoing your usual internet material, television show, or easy read. Maybe your hunger for God will come back. Then take in something else that might flush clean your soul. Read Psalm 34 and digest a verse from there and just go over and over it. Taste and see that the Lord is good and maybe once you whet that appetite, you’ll be forever hungry to know God more.