Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What Am I Willing To Do?

“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” Matthew 5: 6

I recently saw some clips from a new BBC show called Human Planet. It’s like their blockbuster series Planet Earth from a few years ago, but instead of focusing on nature, it focuses on man’s interaction with nature and his ability to adapt and survive in the harshest of circumstances, geographies and climates. It is fascinating stuff. What I found is that because a lot of the focus is on survival, many of the stories or clips focused on what the people in a certain location had to do or go through in order to eat.

Hunger can cause us to go above and beyond what we think we are capable of or what would normally be considered “safe”. We know that without food we will die and so on the risk/benefit scale, we are willing to risk some pretty amazing things to get food since the alternative is a slow, painful, guaranteed death. Of course for most people in the developed world, the greatest risks we’ll have obtaining food is getting in a car accident on the way to the grocery store, getting a sun burn working in our backyard gardens or getting food poisoning from a bad tomato at a restaurant.

But what the people in other parts of the world do for food is truly amazing—and in some cases very scary. On this BBC series, I watched people crossing rapids on flood-swollen rivers by walking across a wire suspended between two heights. With the wire about 30 feet over the rapids while wearing flip-flops, the men would carefully cross the river to get to an ideal fishing ground on the other side. One false step and he goes into the rapids and is gone forever. In another part of the world men were fishing very carefully near a seemingly tranquil pool of water. But when the camera pulled back you saw that they were literally 2-3 feet from the edge of Victoria Falls in Africa. One slip on a wet rock and over they plunge to the crushing rocks at the bottom. Another clip shows three men holding sticks walking slowly, but deliberately towards a group of 15 lions eating a wildebeest. The men lock eyes with the lions and keep walking until about ten feet from the animals, the lions scurry away about 30 feet. The men quickly cut off a portion of the dead animal for their own dinner and then hastily retreat before the lions realize they are being duped and attack them! One wrong move or breaking of eye contact and the men become a side dish to the wildebeest! Finally, one last clip showed a man in Indonesia who swims down to the bottom of the ocean (about 20 meters) and walks around with a spear gun until he can shoot a fish for dinner, before he comes back to the surface. The man can hold his breath for upwards of five minutes! But one moment of panic and he involuntarily inhales and drowns!

So the question today is: am I this hungry for God and for righteousness? If not, why? If so, then what I willing to do to satisfy this hunger? Am I willing to lose what others have? Risk losing my friends? Suffer ridicule? Be alone? These and many other things can certainly happen if we choose to really hunger and thirst after God and work hard to satisfy that hunger. But in the end, we are fed, and fed more abundantly and filled more completely than we could have ever imagined.

What is the alternative? A slow, painful, guaranteed spiritual death that will leave us empty, jaded and even more hungry as we keep looking to fill ourselves on things that cannot ever truly satisfy our hearts, minds, souls or bodies. Let us be inspired by those who risk much from their hunger to find food and be willing to risk as much to live for God.

Dear Jesus, You alone can satisfy all of my needs and desires. Help me to hunger after You and Your will more than anything else in this life. Give me the grace to risk everything to follow You. Amen.

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