Blessed… Boy Am I Hungry 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 6:6, New Revised Standard Version).

I yearn for a time when we treat each other with dignity and respect. I hunger for a time when our citizens and our leaders support each other. We see glimpses of it but it always seems to happen in times of tragedy. In the days immediately following the Oklahoma City Bombing, most people on both sides of the culture wars came together. The same can be said in the days following 9/11 and the Columbia explosion. It doesn’t take long before the support we share with one another in those times of tragedy turn to finger pointing and blame. I thirst for a time that we can come together and it not be in a moment of tragedy.

I am not trying to sound naive. Like so many, I have my political views too. I have tried to keep them off these posts but have not been as hesitant to share them in other places. I still have my opinions. Some of them may be right and others may be wrong. I know many of my friends (and family too) see my opinions as right while others believe I am absolutely wrong. And, in all honesty, I feel the same way about many of their opinions too.

These relationships, however, seem to have a real difference from what is central in the culture wars in American society today. We lack love, we lack tolerance. Again and again, in posts on social media I see some on the right making comments that are attacks against those on the left. But, for you folks on the liberal side of the spectrum, the attacks coming from that said are just as bad. What is happening today in our society is not helpful to us moving forward together.

Our scripture today says “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” We cannot claim that we seek righteousness, that we hunger for righteousness or thirst for righteousness when cannot reach out to each other in love. We love to claim we are a Christian nation but the way we treat one another flies in the face of what we say we believe.

I can be tolerant of my friends on the other side. I can sit down and have reasonable conversations with them, even in places where we don’t agree. We can sit down, have a serious discussion and end the conversation walking away as friends. I find that a great deal more difficult to do with those I wouldn’t think of as friends. Yet those are some of the very people Jesus calls on me to love. Perhaps those are the very people Jesus calls on me to love first, perhaps even to love most. No one ever said this was going to be easy.

If I want to be blessed, if I want my life to be filled, I have to seek righteousness, not only with those where I happen to have agreement. If I want my life filled, I have to hunger for righteousness among a far greater number of people than those I have in my close circles, people with whom I have built relationships. If I want to be filled, I have to thirst for righteousness even with those people whose views can push my buttons and perhaps even sometimes make me angry, because God calls me to love them too.

I hunger and thirst for righteousness. What I really need to do is let that show in more aspects of my life than just among my friends and family. I need to let it show in the love for all God’s children.

What are you doing to show you hunger and thirst for righteousness?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.

 

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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