Blessed are the meek or humble. Most of us would say, “That’s me!”. But what would others say? And how can we really know?
Here’s a good place to start: How put off are you when others dislike you, or disagree with you, or ignore you, or snub you? Our conduct towards others reveals a lot about how we view and think of ourselves, not only them.
The meek are those who won’t assert themselves over or upon others to get ahead.
Instead, the meek are those who trust in God, commit their ways to him, wait upon him in stillness, and don’t fret or worry about evil (Psalm 37). They are those in their heart neither overcome by opposition nor given over to vindication. They don’t lash back at their critics. They are quick to hear and slow to speak when others correct or bring something to their attention (James 1:19-21). They are open to reason and teachable, and as a result, are wise (James 3:13-17).
Meekness is the opposite of being cowardly, lazy, ignorant, without passion or conviction. And, yet, meekness won’t exalt itself because of it.
More strikingly, though, the meek are those who are trustworthy. No one finds it easy to entrust something valuable to someone proud and arrogant of heart. Why? Because the proud will do whatever they want with it. They will not care what we want done with it. They won’t receive the gift in the same spirit or heart we’re giving it.
But the meek, Jesus says, are trustworthy. How trustworthy? They inherit the earth.
In the movie, The King’s Speech, when Bertie (King George VI) has become King of England, there’s a moment when he is sitting in front of the desk on which all the official duties of the King await him. He is overwhelmed, breaks down, and through tears confesses to his wife that, “I’m just a naval officer. That’s what I know. I’m not a king. I’m not a king. I’m not a king.” It wasn’t that receiving the crown made him meek. It was that the crown revealed his meekness.
When the meek inherit the earth it’s not then that they become meek. But rather in inheriting the earth their meekness is revealed. They have not asserted themselves, and will not conquer, demand, or take what is not theirs. They receive the earth in the same spirit or attitude with which it is given.
What Jesus saved us for—to inherit the earth—cannot be separated from how Jesus saved us—in meekness and humility (Philippians 2:3-10).
The whole sphere of the earth and creation and the whole sphere of the world and culture—every tribe, nation, and tongue—are the realm of God’s creating and saving work in Jesus. In him, the whole of creation and the world is being made new. This transformation through salvation is both fully present and fully future. No age and no moment is outside of God’s creative and redemptive action in Jesus. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1).
We cannot, however, receive this gift of salvation, given in humility by our Savior, and seek to assert ourselves on behalf of or in the name of our Savior. Rather, the means and attitudes with which we serve Jesus in the earth are the same means and attitudes with which he served. He calls us now to follow him. To imitate him. To become like him. We are to learn Christ (Ephesians 4:20).
But this means more than that Jesus teaches us didactically. He imparts and gives himself to us through the indwelling and renewing of the Holy Spirit. In this way Jesus gives us of his own meekness and humility. As his church and his disciples, then, in a particular culture, place, and time, we can trust God, commit to him, wait upon him, and not fret about the evil around us. We have been blessed with Christ and, in him, with every blessing, including the earth (Ephesians 1:3, 10).