“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hunger & Thirst

This Sunday at church I spoke on Matthew 5:6 - "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied...", and yesterday as I looked through the news, I was again reminded of the truth behind Messiah's statement.

I found that we still have the remnants of the Anna Nicole Smith debacle going on, the tour of Michael Jackson through Japan and the death, apparently by his own hand, of Richard Jeni. Not to mention the capture of the baby-snatching young woman in Clovis N.M. Nothing unusual; just the normal news, sad to say.

But, after spending the last week immersed in studying for yesterday's sermon, I find that these four news articles crystallize my thoughts regarding Matthew 5:6.

First, Anna Nicole Smith, quite possibly the most over-exposed news celebrity since anything-Britney! This, to me, is an incredibly sad story. Almost a Horatio Alger story; Anna Nicole Smith a.k.a. Vicky Lynn Hogan came from nowhere in Mexia, Texas to the front page of almost every newspaper in a short 39 year period. She seemed to 'have it all', or at least be in line for it all! She married into money, was a Playboy playmate, had a television show, and was a model for Guess jeans. She had everything that the world touts as important -- money, looks, fame, men, everything but what she really needed -- peace. And she died alone in a hotel room on a Seminole reservation.

Michael Jackson started out as a young star with the Jackson 5. They had a string of hits for Motown, and then Michael broke out on a solo career, and what a career it was! 'Off the Wall', was a big hit for him, but 'Thriller' was the one that put him over the top. Michael Jackson was the unchallenged KING OF POP throughout the eighties, everything he touched seemed to turn to gold. Everything was turning up roses for the man -- he even married Elvis Presley's daughter thereby solidifying his spot amongst the truly greats of POP!

Have you seen him lately -- his face is virtually falling off, his hands are swollen and overall, he is very scary looking. Not to include that he is having legal and financial issues at every turn. Is this man happy?

Richard Jeni was one of the most successful stand-up comics around, and yet, for some reason, it appears that yesterday he took his own life. Again, a successful, well-to-do, respected person (in the world's eyes) apparently driven to the brink. Sadly, many comics, who spend all of their time making others laugh, often have lives that are filled with loneliness, and despair.

And finally, Rayshaun Parson, the woman who snatched a baby from a hospital in Lubbock, Texas. What drives people to do things such as this? Well, there are probably myriad reasons, but many of these incidents have a common thread: A woman desperately wanting a baby to 'complete' her. What a tragic statement -- that someone feels this way.

These people, and so many more, hunger and thirst for the food of the world, wealth, fame, self-esteem, self-centeredness, and they find it empty. And now we have the 'radical' atheists stepping up and promoting the blasphemy challenge to our young folks. These people promise the same food that the world has promised man for millenia, the empty calories of the worldly pleasure.

I was listening to an interview with one of these atheists and they said that they (atheists) are the last group that can be vilified and hated by everyone, from Muslim to Christian to Deist. Well, I have news for that person -- I don't hate them, they are more properly pitied. If my hope was centered in myself, or the world's approval, what a sad life that would be.

Messiah says that those who hunger and thrist for righteousness will be chortazo, which can properly be translated not simply as satified or filled, but filled to abundance. Those who are hungering after the things of this world find them to be a 'mirage' that disappears every time one gets close. I think of Michael Jackson -- he seemed to be on top of the world, yet he is tortured, trying to change his looks, searching for love and acceptance in all the wrong places, seemingly under constant legal scrutiny. This does not seem to be one who has 'made it' in worldly terms. And then, we can even go back to Elvis Presley, a man who likewise found no spiritual sustenance in the things of this world.

And you may think that these are only anomalies, but truth be told, they are more common than not. Think of the litany of people who would fit this mold -- we mentioned Elvis, and Michael, Anna Nicole, and Richard Jeni, but what about Britney, Kurt Cobain, Peter Ham.... The list is endless... Those who seem to have EVERYTHING that the world holds for them are generally unhappy!

Why is that? Because when you store up riches here on Earth, moth and rust attack them and thieves break in and steal them, yet when your treasure is in Heaven, then no one can break in and steal it.

Oh Christian! How our hearts should break for those in pursuit of worldly acceptance, how our prayers should be lifted up to the Lord, asking that He open the eyes of those lost in mire of this world!


Steve Sensenig said...

Ray, this is very insightful.

When you commented about being filled to abundance, it reminded me of other words of Jesus: "I came to give you life and that more abundantly".

We are blessed! And what a message of hope and peace and contentment we have to share with the world around us.

Ray said...

Thanks Steve -- yes, I agree... We should be sharing this wonderful news more!

Dave said...

Many of these tragic cases sought spiritual help in the wrong place. I am reminded of MJ who tried to find solace in Russellism (JW's).

Most JW's I know are lonely, empty people..only because their leaders have convinced them what little they have is "all there is." In Christ, we have hope. I all else we fail. They may be seeking spirituality, but they are not seeking Christ.