In the final semester before my graduation from college, I can vividly remember creating a resume and preparing for job interviews. Two questions stand out in my mind: What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? It was those two answers that would determine my job opportunities or so I thought. Then a few years later, in my second career move, my employer provided a staff opportunity to learn about our personalities. The Myers-Briggs was administered and we each 'found' ourselves and our strengths and weaknesses. Suddenly, I was able to explain my quirks and personality style (or at least some of my quirks!).
Over the years, Matthew 5 has often been that type of reading for me - a personality checklist. I would read the verses to find myself. And to further honesty, I'll admit to skipping verses that didn't apply to me because they were simply "not my personality." So today we come to Matthew 5:5 - Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
My teachers from days of old, my parents, my brother and sisters, my friends from all days of my life have affirmed to me that I am not meek!!! So how can this verse be a call to me? How can I live this verse in my life? And how in the world does any of this discussion have to do with the 40 days before Easter? What does meek even mean?
To determine the true definition of meek I investigated the original Greek word used in this verse. The Greek word is Praus and conveys the idea of tenderness and graciousness, and can be accurately translated “meekness” and “meek”. But unlike those English words, the Greek terms do not connote weakness but rather power under control. The adjective praus was often used of a wild horse that was broken and made useful to its owner.
Now this definition takes hold of me. A wild horse that was broken and made useful to its owner...I can see myself as wild, strong-willed, undisciplined, fiery, full of life and wanting to be useful. So the meek let the Father take control of their powerful natures, they let Him break them for their own good and for His usefulness, love and guidance. The word 'meek' is indeed beautiful and powerful.
When did Jesus show such meekness? One Bible commentary sums up like this:
He displayed it [meekness] in two ways, both of which showed his power. In respect to his own person, he practiced neither retaliation nor vindictiveness. When he was mocked and spat upon, he answered nothing, for he trusted his Father. As we have noted, when he was confronted by Pilate, he kept silent. When his friends betrayed him and fled, he uttered no reproach. When Peter denied him, Jesus restored him to fellowship and service. When Judas came and kissed him in Gethsemane, Jesus called him "friend." And Jesus meant it. He was never insincere. Even in the throes of death, he pleaded, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing"(Luke 23:34). In all of this Jesus, meek and mild, was in control. He radiated power.These are such strong examples of Jesus' meekness especially considering that they all occurred within the span of a week and are so very emotionally charged. He practiced neither retaliation or vindictiveness - have I? Have you? When his friends disappeared - he loved them. Do I? Even in a painful death He forgave and blessed those around Him. Remember, “meekness” is not weakness but rather power under control. God's power was fully revealed three days later.
Our world encourages us to be brash, at-the-front-of-the-line, speak up, demand what is rightfully yours, go after your dream - regardless of what it takes to get it, get your name out, let people see you, etc, etc. But our goal is different for we have chosen to take the Jesus-like personality test. Perhaps these Beatitudes are indeed the Bible's version of a Myers-Briggs personality assessment. It is these characteristics that should define us and finally complete us and make us whole. Our race is not to get ahead in this world but to inherit the next world...
"Father, I pray that I can stop trying to wrap the words of the Bible around me and instead insert me and my brokenness into the Word. How often I miss the blessing You offer by simply living as though the verses don't apply to me or that they are not part of my personality. Please Lord, mold me into your Word. Stop my mind and intellect from trusting the world's opinion over You. Open me up to understand the meekness and bridled power You call me to today."
In these 40 days leading up to Easter lets ask ourselves the following questions:
1. When has meekness been evident in my life?
1. When has meekness been evident in my life?
2. How am I doing with this now? Is this trait found in my life today?
3. How do I make this more a part of my life in the future?