by Rob Tims
My wife was 28 weeks pregnant with our first child when we moved to Nashville, TN for a new ministry opportunity, so we bought the first home we were comfortable with that did not really need any work on it. Nearly a year later, we began looking for that perfect home. I was away on a church golf trip when my wife called. “I’ve found the home! It’s “for sale by owner,” and I want to put in a bid. Today is the only day they are taking bids.” So when I came home from the golf trip, I was the proud new (indebted) owner of two homes!
Our first home sold relatively quickly, and life in our “dream home” soon began. We could not have asked for a better home for our family with the exception that it needed LOTS of work, and I had (and still have) LOTS of learning to do when it comes to home repair and improvement!
Therefore, for a couple of months, I would take Trey by myself to Home Depot first thing every Friday and Saturday morning. This would give Holly a break (she was, by this time, pregnant with our second child) and give me some good (what we call now) “man time.”
Now, “man time” has evolved over the years, but it began this way: My son and I would take a quarter-mile detour on our way to Home Depot to Krispy Kreme Donuts for a cup of coffee and two original glazed donuts. The first week, daddy ate his donut in the car, took his coffee and Trey’s donut into the store, put Trey in the shopping cart, and fed Trey bite-size pieces of the donut, all the while giving myself bite-size pieces of the donut. This continued for 2-3 weeks, every weekend.
Then, one weekend, we followed our normal routine. With coffee in one hand and donut in the other, I put my hands together on the handle of the shopping cart to push it. My son, approximately 15 months old at this time, leans down, grabs both of my wrists, and shoves half the donut into his mouth! As a dad, I was both proud and mortified at the same time.
I suppose once you get a taste for something that satisfies, you don’t want less of it because it satisfies: you want more. And my experience with my son illustrates what Jesus means when he says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Surely you’ve experienced this. Nothing lasts. Nothing satisfies. The two happiest days in a man’s life are the days he buys a boat and the day he sells it. A bigger house is just more to clean. A new cell phone is an old cell phone two weeks after you buy it. You CAN tell the difference in an artificial tan, and besides … it fades so quickly. Everything that we “munch on” and “drink down” turns out to be “so five minutes ago.”
To which C. S. Lewis says, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
All of these examples illustrate our tendency to hunger and thirst for blessedness, which is not what we really need. Jesus did not say, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for blessings,” but that is what we do. The irony is that if we seek happiness, we never find it. The quest for happiness is a failed enterprise. The great message of Jesus is that if you put happiness before righteousness, you will be unfulfilled at best, MISERABLE if you’re honest.
At the most general level, Jesus is teaching us to hunger and thirst after a pattern of life that conforms to God’s will. But Martin Lloyd-Jones is right: we would be mistaken to think that this is all Jesus meant. We must also understand Jesus to mean, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for a social righteousness.” The Christian is to stand for and to fight for man’s liberation from oppression, justice in our courts, integrity in our business dealings, and honor in our homes. The Christian is on the side of and goes to fight for those our society rejects.
What are you hungry and thirsty for? If it’s not a pattern of live conforming to the will of God, and that God’s will would be manifest in our society now, you’ll be left wanting.
Rob Tims is husband to Holly and father to Trey, Jono, Abby Jane and Luke. He’s the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt, and manages the team behind smallgroup.com at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. He writes regularly at RobTims.com and blogs every Friday at Forward Progress.