By Jim Newman
What would you say is the most misunderstood word in the English language? We all might have a few words that come to mind, but my vote would be for the word “meekness.” When we think of someone who we might consider to be meek, we sometimes assume that person is inherently “weak.” But as someone once said to me, “If you think meekness is weakness, just try being meek for a week!”
Somehow the perception continues that meekness is a characteristic of someone who can’t stand up for themselves, or one who gets pushed around by other people, both physically and verbally. We might even think of a meek person as one who is basically a “doormat” for others to step on. But that is not what meekness is all about.
Did you know that two of the greatest leaders in the Bible were described as being meek? It would be hard to find a stronger leader in the Old Testament than Moses, yet he was described in Numbers 12:3 like this, “Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all the people who were on the face of the earth.” That’s pretty meek!
And in the New Testament we read about the life of Jesus Christ. He once gave this invitation, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle (meek) and lowly of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The Apostle Paul also spoke of “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” in a letter he wrote to the church in Corinth.” As you study his life, you’ll see that Jesus was not a weak person.
What then is this character trait we call meekness? I understand it to be “strength under control.” It is related to other words like “gentleness,” “kindness” and “humility.” It’s “having a servant’s heart” that is concerned for the wellbeing of others above your own. Jesus exemplified that so well. We read in Mark 10:45, “For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for others.” How all leaders need to have more of meekness displayed in their character!
I also believe that meekness is a necessary attitude of heart for all those who would seek to be a follower of Jesus and who desire to be a part of his kingdom. Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, began his message with the well-known “Beatitudes.” They describe some of the characteristics, including meekness, which should exemplify his followers. Here are a few of them:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit (those who recognize their need of God), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn (those who long for God’s healing and forgiveness), for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek (those who humbly trust the Lord, not needing to assert themselves or their agendas over others), for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the merciful (those who show kindness and mercy to others) for they will receive mercy in return.
Meekness is not weakness. With God’s help, why not try being meek this coming week!
Jim Newman is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2367 or by emailing [email protected].
Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.