“Blessed are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matt. 5:6)
Just recently, I was reading the story of a minister who was invited to speak to groups of believers in China’s underground Church.
For those of you who may be unaware, true Christianity is illegal in China (state churches, controlled by the government are allowed). So in order to truly follow (and obey) Jesus, Christians in China have to keep their faith secret – and their gatherings even more secret. Those caught practicing authentic Christianity are unmercifully punished, if not killed for following Jesus.
So when a minister is asked to speak to groups of believers it is no small thing. Not only is it a great privilege, but all the believers who gather to hear the speaker open themselves up to the possibility of discovery – and persecution. It truly costs them something (sometimes everything) to follow Christ. And a new person around town (especially a westerner) draws the attention of “watching eyes.”
Back to the story… this particular minister was to meet with a small group of believers early in the morning – and he did what most of us would do… he prepared for an American-style church gathering (plus a little extra for the more inquisitive).
They gathered (in a place that was poorly lit, musty, and damp). He taught (sharing everything He had prepared) and got ready to end the gathering. But he was unable to do so. A young believer, off to one side, wanted to understand a certain passage of Scripture more. This was followed by another believer, seeking insight into another verse. Then another person. And yet another. And many more… Eight hours later, they had more questions but thought it wise to end the gathering to avoid arousing suspicion. But they agreed upon another time (and place) to gather the next day…
The minister shared his thoughts on what he had encountered. Never had he experienced such a deep and sincere hunger for God – for knowing Him, for understanding Him, for deepening their awe and reverence for Him. They did not care about the time. They did not care about outside activities. They were enamored with Jesus – and just wanted to know Him more, deeper, better.
The minister contrasted this experience with “normal” Christianity, here in the States. Where everything has to fit in a neat time window – without being too boring, or loud, or irrelevant to “my particular situation.” Where everything has to revolve around “my needs” or “my issues” or “my aspirations.” Where the climate cannot be too warm… or too cold. Where if we don’t like what we’re getting in one place, we go to another… or we stop going altogether. Where we are constantly plagued by a microwave, consumer mentality and (here’s the worst part…) we are not even aware of it!
At some point, we all must answer the most relevant of questions: Just how important is God to my life? Do I have a true hunger and thirst for God – for knowing Him deeper, better, more intimately? Am I ever willing to just lose myself (and all track of time) in seeking Him? Do I value Him beyond my own needs, wants or convenience? Is He really the most important Person (or thing) in my life?
Jesus taught us that it is those (ONLY those) who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness who will be filled.
Is it possible that we are so quick to get our fill of other, less satisfying, things that we have no real hunger for being full of God?
I do wonder…
Prayer Focus: God, reveal all the “less satisfying” things that may be filling my life that keep me from hungering for You as I should.