Nothing Mousy About Meekness
by Thomas J. Doolittle
A

few years ago, I saw a bumper sticker that both amused and perplexed me. It simply read, “The Meek Don’t Want It.”

The sticker was a reference to Jesus’ statement,

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5 NIV).

The bumper sticker reflected two common misconceptions regarding this divine pronouncement.

The Meek Savior

First, people often misunderstand the meaning of meek. Usually meekness is perceived to imply timidity and quietness. Sometimes we even describe a timid person as being as “meek as a mouse.” However, the biblical word translated as “meek” (Greek, praus) does not imply weakness or timidity. Instead, biblical meekness refers to gentleness characterized by submission to God and preferring others to ourselves. Jesus described Himself as “meek,” indicating His desire to help those who were weary and heavy laden (Matt. 11:28-29). Meekness describes the gentle spirit of Jesus that distinguished His ministry to the poor and hurting of this world.

When the situation required boldness, Jesus wielded His authority as the Christ, the Son of God—rebuking the pharisees, casting out demons, cleansing the Temple, and proclaiming the gospel to the world. However, those who came to Him sincerely seeking His help encountered the “meek and lowly” Jesus.

Jesus could be gentle as a lamb to those who suffered in silence, sacrificing Himself for the world. Little children loved to be around Him, and sinners found hope in His presence. He was the Great physician to the spiritually sick, gently nurturing and healing those who came to Him for help. His eyes were filled with mercy for the repentant, and His hands distributed grace to all He touched.

This is the “meekness,” or “gentleness,” Jesus calls us to embrace. we are to follow in His steps and place others’ needs ahead of our own. we are called to relinquish any quest for fleeting earthly power and to submit ourselves completely to His will and be dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit! This is the only way to impact the world for Christ and to serve Him faithfully.

The Inheritance of the Meek

The second misconception relates to the inheritance Jesus promised to the meek. In our world, gentleness is largely a lost commodity. Sharks “swim” on wall Street and drones might fly over our homes. How could the meek inherit this world?

Do the meek really want it?

Even though there is much to enjoy in life, our world is corrupted by sin. We are plagued by human trafficking, endless wars, and rampant immorality. We are threatened by global climate change, nuclear weaponry proliferation, and global economic uncertainty. nevertheless, Jesus said the meek are blessed and will inherit the earth. Why is this good news?

To the secular mind, the world is a deteriorating place that will never be repaired. However, the meek whom Jesus blesses have a much different understanding of the future of this planet. God created this world and all that is in it. Sin brought corruption into the world and the earth has been scarred deeply by its effects. Indeed, creation itself longs for redemption and calls to God for deliverance (Rom. 8:22), and God promises to heal and establish His kingdom here on the earth.

The future earth will be filled with God’s holiness and presence. The glory of the Lord will be manifested on earth, and all sinful things will be removed. This is the earth the meek will inherit—and, yes, the meek do want it! It is the promise of God, and we long for His return and appearance on earth. We look forward to the day when all wars will cease and death will be vanquished.

Jesus told His followers,

“Many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first” (Matt. 19:30).

Perhaps the final fulfillment of this promise will be when Jesus gives the earth as an inheritance to all of His meek disciples who faithfully served Him through the ages. The Bible declares that God has chosen the poor of this world who are rich in faith (James 2:5). One day, their rich faith will translate into an amazing inheritance of a world that has been remodeled by the hand of God and perfected through the work of Christ.

The Holy Spirit will fill the earth with God’s glory, and we will share in the joyful restoration of the Lord’s creation. The meek do want to inherit the earth, because it pleases the Lord to give it to us. We long for His will to be done, so we pray as Jesus taught: “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).