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5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. NIV New International Version
5You're blessed when you're content with just who you are--no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought. MSG The Message Bible
5God makes happy those who quietly trust him and do not try to get their own way. The world will belong to them. WE Worldwide English (New Testament)
5Blessed are those who are free of pride. They will be given the earth. NIRV New International Readers Version5Happy the meek -- because they shall inherit the land. YLT Young's Literal Translation
5God blesses those people who are humble. The earth will belong to them! CEV Contemporary English Version
5God blesses those who are gentle and lowly,for the whole earth will belong to them. NLT New Living Translation
5Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous--with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardlessof their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth! AMP The Amplified Bible
5 O the bliss of those whose strength is in their gentleness, for they shall enter into possession of the earth. William Barclay
Happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them!
People who are gentle with the earth will see it blossom forever.
Source not known to me
Submit to one another, to authorities, to masters, etc. for my sake, but know that the day is coming when the earth will be yours & we will rule it together.
Sylvia KlaussAccording to the above translations and paraphrases, "meek" is defined as contentment, quiet trust, not needing to get your own way, free from pride, humble, gentle, lowly, mild-mannered, patient, long-suffering, possessing gentle strength, someone who claims nothing as rightfully theirs, and submission for Christ's sake!
Would anybody want to be like that? I think I hear, "No way." Yet some of those descriptions do sound rather appealing, for those around us, such as a co-worker or the delivery person, a roommate or a spouse. Who doesn't appreciate gentleness. And patience, now that's a quality to be coveted in everyone with whom we interact. Who wouldn't want a contented teenager! Or a submissive subordinate! Imagine a workplace parking lot where no one claimed a right to park in a particular spot! A grocery check-out line where others insist that "you go first!" Meekness could lead to civility--a quality that many of us lament is missing from our present day society.
If all that is true, then why do we dislike the label meek? It seems that in each of these beatitudes, I know I don't come anywhere close to the standards which Jesus desires in us. Quite frankly, I'm flunking the course. Maybe you feel that way too. But since my desire is to know what God requires of me and how God wants to shape my life, I will not drop out. I heard a beautiful praise chorus about a month ago and the one line which glued itself to my brain was, ". . . to give up I'd be a fool." And so we go on--listening to the words of Jesus. Playing them over again and again in our minds.
Did you notice that we appreciate when others are meek. Yet we resist returning the gift of meekness. We want people to be patient and humble with us; yet we don't want to be that way ourselves. Are we afraid of something--like being perceived as weak. Assertiveness takes precedence over meekness. God forbid that we should have to forgo meat because we are eating with a vegetarian! Or watch a certain movie just because that's what grandma wants to see!
As with all good things, meekness can be pushed to the extreme, beyond the point where it is a positive thing. We're not talking extremism here, there's plenty of room to exercise the qualities of meekness in wholesome ways. Plenty of good, healthy space in our homes and relationships for us to develop the attitude and practice of meekness.
Concerned about control issues? I came across this journal entry: Victory depends on the way a person chooses to live--what radiates from within, and the assurance of doing/living God's way. That person is happier than the one trying to control/master another. It's like the slave who is twice the man his master is. The one can know inner peace, while the other is insecure and must anxiously watch and defend their position.
If you want to know what meekness is, look in the Bible not the Thesaurus. Yet even the Bibles that were published after the 1950's, steer clear of the word meek. But the concept of a gentle and humble lifestyle is still there. Moses, that great leader of the children of Israel, is a good example. He was characterized as meek (Numbers 12:3).
Jesus used the word meek to describ himself. In Matthew 11 Jesus displayed meekness toward those who humbled themselves. Yet earlier in that same chapter Jesus was anything but meek toward those who would not believe, despite the many miracles which he had done in their region. When God's grace was wasted, spurned, and disregarded it made Jesus angry. Still, at the end of the chapter he extended the invitation, "Come to me, you who are weary . . . . Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart [meek], and you will find rest for your souls. . . ."
The Gospel writer, John, wanted us to know that when Jesus died on the cross, no one took his life from him. Jesus gave his life. Gave it up, to be our Savior. Now, how is that for quiet strength, also known as meekness.
The apostle Paul gave instructions to a young pastor named Timothy. He told Timothy to fight the good fight of faith. And take hold of the eternal life to which he was called. Do those directives sound passive or sissy to you? Paul gave his young assistant a list of traits he would need in the fight. They are recorded in I Timothy 6:11-12: ". . . Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness [meekness]. Fight the good fight with meekness! Ponder that for awhile.
Let's kick this up another notch.--Meekness as a spiritual quality. Blessed are those who claim nothing, do not have to have their own way, and submit. Connect that to Moses who claimed nothing, not even his own life! Nix the attitude, "Hey God, it's my life." Had Moses said that, we would not know his name today.
Think, too, about the description of Jesus in Matthew 11:29. It's as though Jesus is saying to us, "If you're tired of the direction the world is going, if you've had enough of the "Me, my and mine" attitude, then take on my yoke. Submit to me. My yoke will fit you perfectly. I will gently teach you the way to go."
Meekness as a spiritual quality means we give in to the One who knows a better way. We give up our claim to be in charge, and ask Jesus to take over the controls. Jesus wants to teach us; meekness on our part makes us teachable.
I have been gently reminded by a family member that I am not stressing the positive rewards of living the Beatitudes in particular, and the Christian life in general. So let me say it now. The poor in spirit do not remain poor. Instead they enter the kingdom of heaven where there is, not poverty but, abundance. Everything you need is yours in full measure--God's mercy and grace, help, strength, courage, wisdom, joy, boldness; whatever you need, you name it and it's yours. Those who mourn receive the best comforter in the whole world, God's Holy Spirit. Those who are meek inherit the earth! What more could you ask. Those who claim nothing, possess all things! With Christ in the driver's seat, there will be lots of surprises yet no need to fear. Go with Jesus, and your life will be, as E. Stanley Jones named his autobiography, a song of ascents. The background music of your spirit will be a hallelujah chorus.
On one hand we need to always be poor in spirit; yet on the other hand the riches of the kingdom of heaven are constantly available to us. On one hand we live in an imperfect world full of suffering which Jesus would have us enter into and not try to escape; on the other hand we know the immeasurable resource of the Holy Spirit who lives and abides within us. On one hand we need to surrender our competitiveness and aggressiveness and the "It's my life and I can do what I please" attitude; while on the other hand Jesus takes control, gives us peace and shows us a better way.
There's one final image from the Old Testament I want to talk about. One of the 12 tribes of Israel back in the early part of the Old Testament was the Levites. When Moses was leading the children of Israel from their slavery in Egypt to the freedom of the "Promised Land", the Leviteswere in charge of setting up, taking down, carrying, and taking care of the tabernacle of the Lord. As Moses led this large crowd of people through the wilderness, under God's direction he divided the people into family tribes, each with an area of space and a position where they belonged. The Levites received special designation in the sense that they camped in the immediate area surrounding the tabernacle. When the children of Israel reached the promised land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua, God's instructions were that the other eleven tribes of Israel would be allotted land which they could call their own; the Levites were to receive no land. They would live and raise their families on the land immediately surrounding the tabernacle, the house of God. Or as God described the arrangement, "I will be their portion and their inheritance." The Levites were called to a lifestyle of meekness and service. They would feed their families off the tithes of the other 11 family tribes. They had no land; God was their inheritance! Yes, God said, You got me, babe. You, my beloved, get ME. (Numbers 18:20-24)
Victory, success in life, happiness--where does that come from? It all depends on whose you want to be. And who is in the driver's seat.