My wife and I have lived in several different locations and at each home we have been blessed with seeing God’s creation in all different shapes, colors, sounds, and sizes. Perhaps the one critter that is the most intriguing are hummingbirds. There is just something about them that makes them compelling little critters to watch. Sometimes they are super territorial, chasing each other away from the feeder with incredible tenacity! Other times several of them will be sitting peacefully around the feeder enjoying the sweet water. They are shy, yet aggressive. They are ravenous, but selective. They are either going 1000 miles per hour…or nearly motionless. They don’t say a lot, but when they start talking other hummers listen. It is easy to see why it was no surprise when the Lord used one of his little hummers to teach me a lesson today.
As you probably know, hummingbirds are perpetually hungry and thirsty. In fact, when it comes to food and drink, they eat all kinds of soft insects and they suck down nectar like crazy. Amazingly, they can consume twice their weight in nectar each day! How can they drink that much? Why do they need that much nectar? The short answer is that they have an extremely high metabolism and it requires a tremendous amount of energy for them to fly. They simply have to continually consume it because they are constantly in need of it!
In the hummingbird we see a balance of high energy and high consumption. There are no fat hummingbirds. There are no slow flying hummingbirds. There are no hummingbirds that will casually pass up opportunities to get into a feeding hole and consume that nectar. In fact, it is a battle for them at times to get to the food. Sometimes they cannot even sit down to eat…but they are determined to eat anyhow. They are tenacious. They are driven. They are purposeful. You see, if they cannot get what they need…they will die. So they are driven to seek it out, fight for it, and consume it as often as possible and at each and every opportunity.
In Matthew 5:6, Jesus is sharing what are referred to as the beatitudes, and he says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” A few verses later in Matthew 6:33 Jesus would say to the disciples “…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness...”
When I saw that little bird, I began thinking of my personal life and how I simply do not always live with that singleness of priority or determination to hunger and thirst for righteousness. I was reminded by that hummingbird that I need to pursue righteousness with zeal, fighting to make time for myself at the feeder, and drinking more than I think possible. I was convicted of the need to seek first His righteousness and to remind myself that my failure to hunger and thirst after righteousness will leave me unsatisfied.
The righteousness that Christ spoke of is not selective or limited in scope in any way. In fact, the Greek word for “righteousness” in the first passage is written in the accusative case. That means that the hungering and thirsting is for the whole of righteousness. It is like the difference between saying “I ate chicken for dinner.” and “I ate the chicken for dinner”. Christ says that those that hunger and thirst for the whole of righteousness will be satisfied. Also, notice it doesn’t say that those that have consumed and drank righteousness will be satisfied…it says they are to “hunger and thirst”. Here again it is important to look at the original language. The Greek words “peinōntes” and “dipsōntes” translate as “hungering” and thirsting” respectively. They are to be ongoing real time activities in our lives. We don’t stop hungering and thirsting. We may sin or fail at times, but our never-ending desire is to be hungering and thirsting after righteousness.
As I watched that tiny bird I witnessed the passion with which the bird approached the feeder for food, I saw the peaceful manner while it sat there drinking in life, and the purpose with which this precious little creature would return over and over again to this available source of life giving food. Unlike food or drink in our lives, the hungering and thirsting for righteousness will never be met this side of heaven, but in our love for our Lord we seek His righteousness, we hunger and thirst for it. We long for it. Nothing else will ever satisfy.
My prayer is that as children of God we will all increase in our hungering and thirsting for the His righteousness and do so with intense passion, peace, and purpose claiming in our hearts the promise from God that the result of that hungering and thirsting is being satisfied.