A divine idea

Published 6:41 pm Sunday, August 26, 2018

Truly, it is a Divine idea or it would never have made the list of virtues. When we wish to describe “meekness,” we use certain analogies. We say, “He’s as meek as a mouse.” Our picture is of frightened souls, scurrying around the corners of life trying to get out of our way. Mice are not very attractive, and neither are the meek as we commonly think of them.

Then we say, “Meek as a lamb.” Lambs are lovable. “Mary had a little lamb, his fleece was white as snow, and everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.” But we normally pity lambs for their helplessness. Most of us don’t want to be thought of as “sheep,” period.

Thus, our current concept of meekness runs directly counter to our idea of “blessedness.” We admire strength. We teach our children to assert their rights and not let anybody run over them.

So, we cynically say, the meek may get to heaven alright, but they cannot expect to have anything in this world. But strangely enough, it is this world that Jesus said they would get their reward. “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth,” said Jesus (Matthew 5:5).

I want to strive to make two points about the importance of meekness in this article today. First, meekness is not weakness! Though meekness can be defined in several ways, meekness is not weakness. When we really begin to look into this word “meekness,” we find that it has a history, and that history takes us back among the Greeks. The idea of the Greek was the golden mean; that is, every virtue was the mean between two extremes. For instance, Courage is a virtue because it is the mean between cowardliness and foolhardy actions. Generosity is a virtue because it is the mean between stinginess and the reckless waste of one’s resources. Therefore, Aristotle describes meekness as the golden mean between extreme anger and the inability to show anger at all.

Second, meekness has to do with a promise for the future! Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Here, Jesus promises a jolting reversal of the have and have-nots.

The meek will inherit the earth. That’s the promise, and it’s a promise for the future.  Now, the “meek” isn’t the single, lonely meek individual. When Jesus promises the earth to the meek, I don’t think he has any plans to divide it up so that each individual meek person gets a little piece of the pie. What Jesus seems to be saying is that the meek inherit the earth together as one family or not at all. As James Howell, Methodist minister, observed, “We would expect this of the meek, for they do not advance their own private agendas. They are not trying to get ahead at other’s expense.”