The third in Jesus’ list of blessings is meekness; this is what He says,
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Meekness, it is not a quality you hear people talking about, no one has ever said to me, “Dan, you are so meek.” Now granted that’s probably because I have not been walking in meekness but there is also the possibility that for most it’s misunderstood and seen as a sign of weakness. This is one way we are carriers of the kingdom of God- it is not in miracles & healings, but in living a transformed life where miracles and healings follow.
Now this is not simply character disposition that Jesus is talking about and continues to talk about. If that were true, then according to Jesus, meek (think humble), peaceful, merciful people would be blessed of God. Well what about your peaceful, meek neighbour who hates God? Surely they are not blessed of God? Some people are just naturally peacemakers, or naturally merciful in their disposition, that does not equate blessing- though they are sterling qualities.
Ultimately Jesus is teaching this sermon that we would bring glory to God, verse 16 says,
“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
The way this counter cultural living functions is that it must point to something beyond ourselves, we want to walk in meekness not so we can simply be a ‘meek neighbour’ but to point to Jesus, to bring glory to God.
So how does our meekness demonstrate we are following after Him, what is it anyway?
The synonyms for meek are: gentle, mild, quiet strength, patient, peaceful, humble.
The best bet for discovering what Jesus means when he says blessed are the meek is to go to the passage He alludes to which is found in Psalm 37:11,
“But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”
It is very similar to what Jesus says on the sermon on the mount- and that is no accident. Psalm 37 provides some context for us as to what a meek life looks like- some of the verses that precede the promise of inheritance are very insightful: verses 5 & 6,
“Commit your way to the LORD, trust in Him, and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
Meekness is committing your way to God and then trusting Him with it, that’s the hard part. How often do we say yes I will follow you God and then get bored waiting for Him to act or we take things into our own hands, instead of waiting for heaven to intercept earth, we try and force the hand of God- that never ends well, it’s not meekness personified. Committing your way to God and trusting in Him doesn’t mean we don’t do anything, rather it means whatever we face we accept that God knows better. If we are prepared to commit, which the Hebrew translation literally means roll- as in roll upon, roll it over to God. So roll upon God my employment, my family, my health, my frustrations, if I can roll them onto God, it means I am admitting I’m not able to cope.
Why do we stress so much, over think and worry- probably because we are trying to handle a million and one things that we were never supposed to have to juggle- the meek commit their way to God- and then trust Him with it.
Secondly Psalm 37 verses 7 & 8,
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices. Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself, it tends only to evil.”
When things don’t go your way how do you respond? If someone causes you offence- perhaps writes an inflammatory email at work- how do you respond? Is it with the iron fist of vengeance? Do you plot subtle ways to take revenge and bring misery to your friendly email writer?!
The psalmist here says don’t worry yourself over the one who seems prosperous, over the one who uses dirty tactics to get the upper hand, don’t fall for the bait- the meek don’t get worked up, they take a God honouring path, refraining from anger and wrath. We all know that bitterness, envy and anger only lead to us having a bitter, envious, angry heart, what’s a few emails or comments made towards you in the light of eternity…
Some reading this need to know that one day, if not now but in the future, all wrongs will be righted. We as Christians shouldn’t therefore escalate situations with our responses. We should be known as the meek, the gentle, the humble. That’s not weakness, it’s incredible strength because it displays trust in God.
If we would only seek meekness, God will give us the strength to walk in it, to be countercultural when it’s costly, to not retaliate, to stay silent in difficult meetings, to not re-send an email or be critical of others, to believe the best, speak well of everyone, to be gentle and quietly strong.
Wouldn’t it be great if when describing your character- someone says, ‘meek’!