The Desire for Righteous Obesity


Adam McLane, The Youth Cartel

iStock_000004128723XSmallBlessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.

Matthew 5:6

I’m not a morning devotions kind of guy. I was trained to connect with God with a formal process called devotions, which essentially translated to looking at a passage of scripture, doing a personal bible study, and a time of structured prayer. And while that is certainly a viable style of connecting with God, over time I found that it didn’t help me connect with God very well– it felt too much like morning homework and often left me drained.

A few years ago I discovered lectio divina and a few other spiritual practices that reignited my passion for connecting with Jesus throughout the day, but specifically in the morning.

All that to say, I’ve been meditating and resting with the verse above for several weeks now.

As a typical, overweight and overfed American male, reflecting on this verse has been brutal for me. Eating breakfast. Taking a mid-morning fruit snack with my toddler. Lunch. A mid-afternoon candy break. Dinner. And a late night snack.

Even though I don’t truly hunger, like my body doesn’t need food, I still have pains of hunger throughout the day which remind me that I’m hungering for food. Of course these Pavlovian hunger pain for food are leading to my being overweight. I don’t need to eat but I do because I’m hungry for something.

To Hunger for Righteousness

The thing that shatters me about this beatitude is that Jesus wasn’t talking about food, of course. He was talking about righteousness.

Food is real.

But so is righteousness.

When I’m hungry for food I can’t stop thinking about it.

But when I know about an injustice I am upset about it, I am bothered about it, but I don’t know if hunger is the right word all the time. It is important but it doesn’t always feel like something I need to pull over and take care of quite the same way as I do if I need a Coke and a Snickers at 2 o’clock.

And yet. Terrifyingly. That’s what Jesus was calling for. While our culture has us hungering for an In-n-Out Burger or a California burrito, Jesus asks us to create a culture where we hunger for righteousness both personally and in our society.

So the question for both you and I is this: What are you hungering for? What feels as urgent as lunch? What makes you feel light-headed if you skip it? Because if it isn’t righteousness than we will never truly be full.