Some years ago we were holidaying at East’s Beach in Kiama. I was on a fitness binge and had decided to do a 20km bushwalk in the Barren Grounds which is part of the Morton National Park. It was predicted to be a hot day so I started off early. I took two muesli bars, 500ml bottle of water and an orange. I walked very well but as the heat rose so did my thirst. I arrived at the half way point feeling hot but still energetic! The return journey though turned out to be an ordeal that really tested me. The temperature rose to 38 degrees and I was out of water. I still had a few kilometers to walk and every step proved difficult. I was really thirsty. All I could think of was drinking something to quench this terrible thirst I now had. I did make it to the car but there was no water in it! I drove very quickly down the mountain road and stopped at the first shop. I still remember those first few gulps of refreshing water!
Thirst, and hunger for that matter, is something that causes us pain. The Macquarie Dictionary defines thirst as ‘an uneasy or painful sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat caused by need of drink’ and ‘strong or eager desire; craving.’ This is exactly what I experienced on that day in the Barren Grounds (aptly named)! In our next foundation for the good life, Jesus teaches, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled”. It seems that the norms of the kingdom of heaven require that men and women be hungry and thirsty … not for drink or food … but for righteousness.
I am not sure whether you have been seriously thirsty or hungry but there is a pain in the stomach that requires filling. There is the strongest desire to satisfy this pain. Jesus is asking that we Christians have this hunger and thirst for righteousness. This righteousness is all about the desire to live our lives in conformity with God’s will. This is a great challenge indeed! Yet, when we seriously reflect on this we see the blessing that can be truly enjoyed. Living in step with God is the best way to live! He loves us and desires us to enjoy Him! And this is exactly what He promises if we pursue a life in conformity with His clear will! Pastor Ernest will take us into this magnificent foundational truth this morning!