Recently in my personal Bible study I've begun looking at the Sermon on the Mount. Here are some thoughts on Matt. 5:5 ("Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth") that I thought I'd share with you:
Meekness is an attribute so out of favor with the times that the word itself is becoming lost to us. In short, to be meek means to be gentle, humble, considerate, and unassuming. The meek do not go out seeking to call no attention to themselves; rather, they look first to the praise and betterment of their fellows. Meekness is humility in action--a gentleness and forthreaching consideration of others.
However, against the perceptions of our age, we must assert that meekness is not weakness. Meekness is a choice, a state of character and lifestyle fostered by exertions of the will, and thus it is not synonymous with a lack of self-confidence or poor self-esteem. Rather, the meek are God-confident, and choose to be meek based on a true understanding of themselves as human beings. No one is born meek; it must be cultivated. And it is no easy virtue. It runs against the grain of our natural pride. Anyone can explode in anger and violence in an irksome situation, but it takes a man who is truly his own master to respond with meekness. Rather than being weakness, meekness is a sign of incredible strength in one's will and character.
And then follows the paradox: they will inherit the earth. This is the topsy-turvy nature of the Kingdom of God, which takes the world's expectations and turns them on their head. The world expects the strong, the violent, and the self-assertive to gain control of the earth's power; while the meek, because they do not go about violently laying claim to personal rights, are trampled underfoot. But in God's kingdom, this will be reversed. Those who seek only to assert themselves will, in the end, be left with their greatest idol--themselves--and no more. But the meek will be the true heirs of the earth's power and wealth, and only they, by being meek, will be able to control it, and not be controlled by it. They will receive it as a gift from the Giver, who made them not to be self-important demigods, but men and women living in loving community. And in that loving, mutually submissive community, the meek have already gained the best and highest part of their full inheritance.
Note to My Readers: from mid-June to mid-August (6/18 - 8/20), I will be taking a summer break from posting new articles for my Thursday and Friday slots. This will only affect my Thursday series on the global growth of Christianity, and my Friday series, the "Theological Bestiary" of birds, both of which will resume in late August. During the summer, I'll be dusting off some of my best essays from the first few years of this blog (a decade ago), as well as my verse play "Thus Ends the World," and re-posting them in the Thursday and Friday slots. All other weekdays will continue to feature new material throughout the summer.