All over the world in different ways it can be a status symbol to kill your hunger, according to Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
In some places being obese can mean that you have enough wealth to satisfy any hunger you have, he said. In other places being thin can be a status symbol because it shows you have the means to fund a healthy lifestyle.
By bread alone
“In both cases what the person is displaying is, ‘I don’t need to be hungry; I have what I need,’” Moore told those present at the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors Conference in Birmingham on June 10. “But the biblical language says those blessed are those who know what it is to be hungry and thirsty.”
He said the text of Matthew 5:6 — “blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness” — shows it’s possible to be both blessed and hungry at the same time.
Jesus is pointing us back to Deuteronomy 8 where God says He made His people be hungry so He could feed them with manna and show them man doesn’t live by bread alone but by every word that comes from God.
“You can kill the human appetite with anorexia. You can stop eating for so long that you don’t even feel hungry anymore,” Moore said. “The same is true spiritually.”
That’s the reason Jesus takes His followers to a table and tells them to remember Him as they eat and drink — so their hunger pushes them to Him. That’s also the reason fasting is so tied to spirituality — it helps Christians develop an appetite for God.
Our longing shows us that we were meant for something more, Moore said. “The very fact you have a sense that things aren’t what they’re supposed to be, that’s a sign God has a resolution to that in the age to come.”
But often Christ’s followers don’t lean into that hunger, he said. “We decide somehow that we need this as little as possible. We decide we need to put the body of Christ on a low-carb diet. When we hunger and thirst for righteousness, what we inevitably say is, ‘God, have mercy on me.’” (Grace Thornton)