I'm mulling over the early parts of Matthew 5 lately. Heaven knows there's enough in Matthew 5-7 to keep me thinking for the rest of my life, so I'm pacing myself. The tempation is too strong to read quickly while nodding "got that....got that....got that."
Puzzlement of the day surrounds Matthew 5:6, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
I'm too quick to think of righteousness as a series of 1's an 0's, binary choices based on hardwiring and quick processing...make the right choices, get righteousness, make the wrong choices, get unrighteousness. While that is certainly part of the story, it can't be everything. Surely I am not being admonished by the God of all creation toward the noble goal of good decision making. Surely righteousness is more than the result of a practice....the result of listening to some weird Hooked on Ethics audio tape.
What kind of practice can I hunger for? I don't hunger for typing skills or the ability to roll a bowling ball arrow-straight. I can't do either of those well, but neither produces an ache in my gut. No, things we hunger for transcend things that we can manage to learn. Things we hunger for are things that we can never quite achieve...things that we can almost do, but not quite on our own.
I'm hungry for the portion of righteousness that goes beyond my own ability to make the right calls in pressure situations. I can actually master that skill and still live apart from the gift of righteousness that comes from God.
I'm hungry for more than I can convince you of about myself. More than making the right calls or even wanting the right things. I'm hungry for He who is righteous, and I will be filled.