I was a pretty finicky eater when I was a kid. My primary staples were chicken fingers and plain hamburgers. Remember the old Burger King commercial “hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us?” Well, for me it was “hold everything but the meat.” The only vegetable I would even consider eating was hominy. I was the poster child for bland diets.
Food just wasn’t that important to me. I wasn’t your typical teenager that ate everything in sight. I got hungry, but a Pop-tart would suffice and I could get back to riding my bike or building a fort in the woods. My son has my DNA. Food isn’t important to him either. The other day he was complaining about a headache and said it was probably because he didn’t eat until 7PM. Dumbfounded, I asked him why. “Well, Kayla wouldn’t go get me anything” was the reply. I proceeded to lecture him on all the food that was in the pantry if he’d just go make himself something. After a few minutes I realized I was channeling my dad so I just gave up – he’ll eat when he gets hungry. Someday the appetite will catch up to him just like it did with me.
This past Sunday, Scott preached on the next beatitude: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Scott relayed some startling statistics on true hunger in the world:
- 225,000 people die every day because of starvation or hunger-related diseases
- 3.6 million people die every year because of a lack of clean drinking water.
- 842 million people in our world do not eat enough to be healthy (1 out of 8)
- 1 in 4 children have stunted growth because of a lack of nutritional food
The precious souls impacted in these statistics would do anything to quell the gnawing hunger they face on a daily basis. That’s the kind of desperation that Christ is referring to in this scripture. But, instead of physical food, Christ is referring to a hunger for spiritual things. Psalm 63:1 says “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.”
As I pondered that verse, I had to admit; sometimes I’m a finicky spiritual eater as well. Just like my appetite as a teenager, I can pass up a spiritual meal and not really feel deprived. Maybe I can feel a little spiritual hunger, but a quick Pop-Tart devotion is enough to tide me over and I can get back to my busy schedule. When I do sit down to eat, am I guilty of “chicken-finger theology” – only reading the verses that appeal to me and not addressing some of the weightier topics that God would like to use to transform me?
Lord, forgive us when our spiritual diet consists of only hominy, plain hamburgers, and dare I say, doughnuts. Give us a gnawing, unquenchable hunger for a seven-course smorgasbord of spiritual food from your word.