Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:5

Matthew 5:1-10; Psalm 37:1-9 “Blessed to be Meek”

  • Sermon Details
  • Pastor Name: Rev. Daniel J. Commerford
  • Date & Time: February 28, 2016

*No audio or video available

When I was in grade school, I wound up joining the wrestling team. And I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I was pretty good at it for my age. As I grew up, I won way more than I lost. But I had a little bit of a reality check when I was in 7th grade and I somehow made the varsity wrestling team. Instead of resting people my own age, I was facing opponents who were older, faster, and stronger than me. Long story short, I got my butt whooped every single match. That year, I only won a single match. And the only reason I won is because I somehow learned that my opponent was getting over a head injury. With that knowledge, I kept poking him in the head until I dazed him enough to get him on the mat and pin him.

Looking back on that match, I feel like it can serve as a dichotomy for how the world appears to work at times. Life can feel like a constant struggle to find success, and sometimes the only way to win in life is to find the weakness of someone else and use that knowledge to climb over them. And while the story of my wrestling match may be a comical, our tendency to exploit each other’s weaknesses can be disturbing when it’s serious. If we look at the presidential election right now, regardless of our political beliefs or who we like, it is impossible to deny that the tone of this year’s primaries have been decidedly vicious. All of the candidates are trying to tear each other apart so that they can appear stronger, all in an effort to amass their own power. And that’s what we are taught sometimes, that it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and we are either being stomped on or doing the stomping.

So where does Jesus’ call to be meek fit in the midst of our quest for success and security? Today, we are going to see what Jesus meant by saying that the meek will be blessed and will inherit the earth as we continue our Lenten series on Jesus’ Beatitudes. A couple weeks ago, we saw how Jesus calls us to be poor in Spirit in order to surrender everything to him. Last week, we saw how God can work in and through us during our seasons of mourning. Today, we will see how being meek is actually the best way to obey Christ and advance his Kingdom on this earth.

But before we get to that, it’s probably a good thing for us to look at the term “meek” because we don’t hear that term very often, and when we do, it’s usually not a positive characteristic. Even though the dictionary defines meekness as being humble and patient, it is also defined as submissive and compliant. For that reason, we often equate the word “meek” with “weak.” We think of those who are meek as people we walk over while trying to accomplish our goals. We think of those who are meek as people who do not have the strength or resolve to make a difference in this world. Maybe that’s why, of all the characteristics we are raised to have, meekness is rarely one of them.

That’s unfortunate, because I believe that the definition of meekness has taken a life of its own since Jesus used it. While current meekness may translate to weakness, biblical meekness is anything but. When Jesus says, Blessed are the Meek,” he is referring to those who quietly and peacefully stand up to the evil that we are presented with in this sinful world. Those who are meek confront, and even resist evil, but do so while maintaining the peace and love that Christ commands us to have and spread.

If we want to look at the definition of meek in the Bible, we need to look no further than Jesus himself! Throughout his ministry, Jesus was confronted with all sorts of evil. He faced demons, power-hungry leaders, and crowds of people wanting to kill him. And in all of his confrontations, Jesus never stooped to the level of his company. He always responded with grace, mercy, and love. But that does not mean that Jesus was weak! In fact, Jesus’ response was the opposite. With his peaceful yet forceful resistance to the evil of his time, Jesus made a stand for God that was unparalleled. It’s a stand that threatened every sinful stronghold, it’s a stand that amassed a great following, and it’s a stand that eventually got him killed. Christ’s peaceful, yet powerful resistance in the face of evil is the epitome of what it means to be meek.

Today, we are also faced with all sorts of evil. We live in a world that promotes narcissism. We live in a world that encourages people to trust in their own deeds rather than Christ’s. We live in a world where the depths of our depravity is on display whenever we turn on the nightly news. And as Christians, it’s often our first response to fight this depravity it force. We think of our faith as a battle, and use militaristic rhetoric when communicating our faith. We call ourselves “soldiers” for Christ, and the world as our “battlefield” where we wage war against our enemies. We are tempted to condition ourselves to look at our brothers and sisters as our allies in war and those who aren’t Christians as our enemies. In other words, it’s rarely our first reaction to be meek.

And when we are not meek, we can run into problems when we try to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. If we look at ourselves as soldiers instead of disciples, we wind up either attacking or defending instead of sharing. If we look at the world as the battlefield where we wage war against our enemies, we will wind up trying to defeat and destroy instead of restore. If we view the mission field as a place to conquer instead of an opportunity to serve, no one will ever want to join us on our own faith journey. As much as we want to be mighty and forceful, I think Jesus was onto something when he said that, in order to inherit the earth, we need to be meek.

And if we want to learn how to be meek, we get a pretty good outline for meekness in Psalm 37. In this passage, David teaches about a quiet perseverance and continuous faith in God. First, being meek means trusting in God to do what only God can do. David encourages us to not fret over evil because God will vanquish evil. Second, we can be meek by committing to God in all our days. That means that even when we want to be fighters or want to be conquerors, we commit to obeying Christ’s command to love our neighbors and pray for our enemies. Finally, be patient! Patience comes forma healthy perspective that we are all apart of God’s plan to bring his Kingdom to earth. That’s a plan that’s been going on for the last 2,000 years, and there’s still a lot of work to do. Being meek means trusting in the Lord enough to commit to his commandments, and having the patience to let God’s plan lay out in our world.

And that last part, our call to be patient, can often be the hardest part about being meek. There will be moments when we want to fight back against people we feel oppose us. There will be moments when we want to conquer those who disagree with us. Thre will be moments when we will doubt our impact on those around us. Whenever we run into those moments, I’d like s to think about the Grand Canyon, and how it was formed. The majestic valley was not formed by an explosion of power, but rather the quiet, continuous, and persistent work of water and wind. At first glance, water and air being thrown against rock appears to make no difference at all. But after a long time, it gradually eats away at it, until we have a magnificent valley.

In the same way, we may feel that being meek in our world today is like throwing water and air against an unmovable rock. But if we have faith in Christ, and believe in his promise to move mountains and vanquish evil, we can be like that persistent force of water, gradually grinding away at the rock that faces us. Being meek is not easy work, but it is effective work. And with Christ working in us and through us, we will be able to bring life to what was once dead, and restore what has been broken. Christ tells us that the meek will inherit the earth. May we all be heirs in his eternal Kingdom. To God be all glory, honor, and praise, amen.