When Jesus comes among us, he needs to recalibrate our thinking as to what makes up a good life. Here’s the third of his ‘beatitudes’.
The meek are to be congratulated and they will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5-6).
We would say the strong and assertive are those who inherit the earth. Jesus knows better. A little later, he says that he himself is meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:28-30)—and he is going to inherit the earth.
Meekness is hard to define and harder to have! It has to do with how we relate to others. It’s not just avoiding being pushy. It’s not just being weak. It’s not just checking our impatience. It’s a deeply felt belief that we are here to help others but not to control them.
Remember that Jesus has begun his ministry announcing the kingdom of heaven is near. The question this raises is: who is in charge of everything? Or, who is responsible for saving the earth?
We tend to think our ideas are best, that people should do things our way. But if Jesus is the Saviour of the world, we need to be a step or two behind what he is doing rather than running the show.
This doesn’t make us weak in playing our part in human relationships. If anything, it makes us more sure-footed. Moses demonstrates this. He is ‘very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth’ (Num. 12:3). But he confronts a world leader and frees slaves. His meekness has nothing to do with being a doormat for others tread on.
However, if we are truly meek, other people can tell the difference. They know they have a place around us. They know they won’t get run over. They may even ask questions.
Remember that when Jesus says he is meek and lowly in heart, he’s inviting weary people to come to him—weary with trying to make something of themselves.
We’ve got good reason to live this way. When Jesus says the meek will inherit the earth, he’s quoting Psalm 37. The Lord will deal with those who are doing wrong. Our part is to trust the Lord, delight in him, be still and patient and refrain from anger (vv. 1-11).
It comes back to knowing that the King is in charge. It’s not our will that’s important, or the will of others. It’s the will of the King that will prevail and obedience to him that will make it happen. Under that, we all have our place and meekness welcomes this.