Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
– Jesus, Matthew 5:5
I’ve blogged about this beatitude before and thought about it quite a bit since. When I wrote about it last, I saw a lot of humor in it. Essentially, I read Jesus saying, “Blessed are those who abstain from fighting over land or possessions, for those who are fighting over it are just going to all kill each other and then it will just naturally be yours! You’ll then inherit it!” I still giggle to myself when I think of it that way and believe it is valid, but that doesn’t mean that more isn’t being said.
Possessions and property were never important to Jesus, so it wouldn’t be outlandish to think that maybe he is talking about more than real estate. The first safe assumption for what Jesus is really talking about can always be Relationship.
The definition of meekness, as I’ve come to understand it, is “power under control; submissiveness.” It is an action-oriented and participatory submissiveness, or co-operation, as a result of abiding in trust and relationship. The idea Jesus was communicating was as radical in his day as it is today. Submissiveness will give to my life, not take away from it? This is very countercultural.
The first example I think of when I consider meekness is a man named Allan Shrewsbury. When I was a know-it-all teenager working as a custodian at a church, I had a literal list of complaints and sat down with him as I read over them.
He listened. The entire time. Like, sincerely listened. And I said everything.
His sincerity and attentiveness disarmed me. When I had finished, he asked me if there was more. I thought about it, said no, and I remember clearly thinking to myself that, because of how heard I felt, “I will listen to whatever this man has to say.” His “power under control” made me feel like I could completely trust his response.
Meekness in relationship gives us so much more than assertion or dominance does. When we are meek with someone, we become trustworthy. People will give their entire world to an actively meek, trustworthy person. This is another way in which the meek inherit the earth.