When Meek is Strong

April 21, 2016

by Erin Bird

Hello there! Today, we continue our series on the blog about The Beatitudes. I invite you to take a couple minutes to read and ponder with me the third beatitude:

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
Matthew 5:5

When we think of those who "own" the earth, we usually think of kings, emperors, dictators, and the like. We think of guys like Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar, great conquerors who expanded their kingdoms through military might and strong philosophical and cultural ideals.

So when Jesus uttered his third beatitude, his audience possibly made an audible gasp. The meek will inherit the earth?!?

A Meek Definition

I looked up the word meek in the Oxford Dictionary that came pre-installed on my Mac. Here is how the Ox defines the word:

meek |mēk| - adj. - quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive

Umm... I don't know about you, but I suspect Caesar wouldn't have been considered quiet, gentle, or submissive. So how in the world are the meek supposed to inherit the earth if they are so easily imposed upon?

A Change in Perspective

If we merely look at Jesus's words from an earthly perspective, they make no sense. Try this mental exercise: Think of the meekest person you can. He or she is incredibly quiet. She's passive. He never stands up to anyone. He or she might own a house, and therefore own the land upon which their home sits. But can you imagine him owning the whole earth, leading its inhabitants? It's laughable.

But if we shift our perspective from earthly ways to spiritual ways, the picture begins to look different. Listen to this definition of meekness from Lumina:

"...[M]eekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God's goodness and control over the situation. The [meek] person is not occupied with self at all."

[M]eekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God's goodness and control over the situation. Suddenly, we realize when Jesus uses the word "meek," He isn't talking about being a doormat upon which everyone walks, but rather a person who lives with complete trust of God. Meekness isn't weakness. It's actually strength.

All the great conquerors like Alexander the Great eventually die and their kingdoms fade. But the Eternal God, the Creator of Earth (and therefore its rightful owner), can give the earth to whomever He wants. And He chooses to give it to those who completely trust Him, whose strength is Him.

So let me ask you: are you trusting God today? If not, how does the gospel message about Jesus' life and resurrection encourage you to place your trust in Him today so you can be strong emotionally and spiritually?

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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