“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth?” (Mahew 5: 5)
We’re continuing our study this week of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and in particular what are called the Beatitudes. Jesus clearly laid out for us the attitudes that lead to blessing and success in life. We’d be smart to listen up!
What does the word “meek” conjure up in your mind? My immediate image is that of a too-sweet, overly self-sacrificing, doormat kind of person. But is that the point of reference when Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek?”
No, a better definition of “meek” is “a person with a spirit of gentleness and self-control, free from malice and a condescending spirit.” Ever been around people with those qualities? There’s a peace about them that calms you in their presence. You know when you relate with such individuals that they operate in a wisdom that is beyond their own. Despite experiencing adversity like the rest of us, it’s obvious that these people are “doing the work” necessary to keep their hearts cleaned out and free from bitterness and unforgiveness. They are not disposed to vengeance and vendettas. They do not exploit and oppress others. They don’t seize power for their own purposes.
Further, when other behave in rude or abusive ways, the Spirit-controlled meek person does not get sucked into someone else’s sick patterns. He/she sets appropriate boundaries, respectfully, honoring the foundational principle, “Love thy neighbor AS thyself.” Meekness is not synonymous with weakness or the doormat mentality. It is a fruit produced by the mighty Holy Spirit working through us. (Galatians 5: 22-23)
And Jesus said, “Meekness is a blessed way to live.” He then made a further promise: the meek will inherit the earth. “Back in the day,” the big deal was The Promised Land, territory promised in covenant to the people of Israel. In fact, today that land is still a big deal. Just turn on the news.
However, since we have not literally been promised land ourselves, what relevance can this promise have to us? The Promised Land may be seen metaphorically as having a place, as security. It’s being able to put down roots in a place that is an inheritance from God. It’s being where you belong. Now that’s a real blessing, isn’t it?
To recap, let’s hear the amplification of the meaning of this part of Jesus’ Message on the Mount: “Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth!” (The Amplified Bible)
Dear Lord, I’m not naturally very mild, and I sometimes become impatient. I know I can’t be “meek” on my own, but You said that you’d produce that fruit in me Yourself. OK, I want that; I receive it from you. Please help me to live today with the gentleness of Your Spirit as I relate with people wisely, strongly, and kindly. Love even the difficult people in my life through me, O God. Tutor me in meekness, please, for I want to live in Your blessings.