Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires;
God will satisfy them fully! Matt 5: 6
It’s tempting to infer a sense of quid pro quo here; you scratch my back, etc. If we do what God wants, God will bless us in return. But Jesus isn’t talking about a bargain, but about what happens when we crave God’s values – a desire that drives us on until it is satisfied.
Christians driven by that need have transformed society; William Wilberforce’s campaign to abolish slavery; Lord Shaftesbury’s reforms to prevent children working in mines; Florence Nightingale, who transformed both nursing; Dr Barnardo whose homes protected and cared for needy and vulnerable children.
These were remarkable individuals, but imagine a whole society influenced by God’s requirements. Actually we don’t have to imagine, it’s happened. While sometimes it seems that we are impossibly far from a world governed by the values of God’s rule, God’s people have consistently tempered the bad, brought reforms which have become embedded in our laws, and brought blessing to millions.
Our most basic laws are founded on scripture – don’t kill, don’t steal. Agencies like Tear Fund, Christian Aid, SCIAF and Bethany care for those most in need. It was the Church of Scotland who first made education accessible to all children in Scotland. Crossreach, the Kirk’s Social Care Council, is one of the biggest care providers in Scotland. The Churches lobby parliament for fairer laws and work together to support refugees. The Church of Scotland Guild supports thousands with HIV. In Granton we care deeply for those in need around us, and strive to protect the world that God has given us. The list goes on and on.
This verse isn’t about a God who bribes us to do it his way with a promise of happiness and fulfillment. It’s a statement of cause and effect. The desire to do right, leads to right actions, to the righting of wrongs, and demonstrating the love of God for the whole world. Isn’t that a craving worth giving in to?
Lord, when we do things your way, it makes the world a better place.
Thank you for all those who have understood that, making our society better than it would have been.
We are in a time when society is changing and decisions which will shape the future are being made even now and so we pray for those making decisions, for their advisors, and for those amongst them whose greatest desire is to do your will. Inspire, protect them, and let your voice be heard through them.
When we desire what you desire, it makes a difference. Give us the courage to give in to that desire.
Are you aware of a need that needs to be met? An injustice to be righted, an injury that requires forgiveness? How do you think God requires you to respond? Think of a specific action, then do it, and note what happens.