As he talked to the people of his time, Jesus used imagery that helped them identify with the conditions of humanity: those who would receive the blessing. Hunger. Thirst. The same metaphors translate well for modern folks.
We understand such deep and essential needs. Authors of the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Biblical commentaries write about this Beatitude by including it among the three earlier ones that addressed being poor in spirit, mournful, and meek. These scholars say that those who receive the first four blessings are “conscious of their need of salvation” and that they do not yet act as if they are “possessed of it.”
They’re metaphorically empty. And they know it. And somehow, this need or ‘lack’ is always creating space for the presence of God in their lives.
Folks who are about to be ‘filled’ are among those in the early stages of the twelve-step recovery model: a helpful way to compare the journey through the Beatitudes. They’re in need. They’ve admitted to that need. They’ve named the nature of their issues and challenges. They have handed over their lives and wellbeing to redemptive relationships, such as Godself. They long for help. They have turned themselves toward God for that help.
If we’re longing for a healthy and sustainable relationship with Godself, mirrored in our self-care and ethical connections to other people, then the answer to our desire is to experience a wholeness of connection that satisfies what seems missing in our lives. That’s what being ‘filled’ means. That’s the blessing.
It’s an easy metaphor to understand. Harder to live out.
Think of this desire as life-threatening. As vital as lack of food or water would be.
You need to be filled. Fulfilled. The promise of the Beatitude is that the need is met. More than met, by forming a relationship with Godself.
Our desire to be in relationship with God, when fulfilled, is satisfied in such a way that it may remain sated. It continually renews wellbeing. We’ll probably have relapses. Bumps along the way.
Yet our holistic connection to God restores equilibrium. In such conditions, we can care for ourselves and others, because we are anchored in a bond with Godself.
Of course, the human experience, named at the start of the blessing, is that we’re constantly wanting. We start out empty: devouring and processing whatever we can imbibe. In a sense, that’s how we learn.
Even if we want good, healthy, ethical conditions and outcomes and connections, we’re on the empty end of the equation, wishing for fulfillment. And we’re perpetually out of balance, we cannot stand alone: we need to be in relationship.
Simply wanting to be connected to God turns us in a life-affirming direction. It won’t be easy or absolute. The state of reaching toward God, as God leans close to meet us where we are, remains part of our journey. Apparently, we must exercise the option to say yes, over and over.
While we’re always invited to belong to God, the choice remains ours. The opportunity to say yes — or not — is within our power. So the only one who gets in the way of the relationship with God is us and our human experience.
God always draws close. Pursues us. Never backs down. Never gives up. Always shows up. ANd that presence … that’s what fulfills. And fills. — Rev Gail
It’s emptiness, not fullness, that Jesus blesses. — John Koessler
Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living? — Bob Marley
Man is the only animal whose desires increase as they are fed; the only animal that is never satisfied. — Henry George
To be satisfied with a little, is the greatest wisdom; and he that increaseth his riches, increaseth his cares; but a contented mind is a hidden treasure, and trouble findeth it not. — Akhenaton
You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don’t win, at least you can be satisfied that you’ve tried. If you don’t accept failure as a possibility, you don’t set high goals, you don’t branch out, you don’t try – you don’t take the risk. — Rosalynn Carter
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. — John Piper
Challenge or Question: When do you feel that you are enough? How does that reflect on your connection to Godself? What gifts have you received that allow you to experience that feeling of contentment, fulfillment, satisfaction, and being enough?