Volume XXXVIII, #30: Blessed are the Gentle
Blessed are the gentle (or meek or humble depending on the translation that you use) describes an essential attitude in the life of a christian. But what is meekness? And how can we obtain this essential attitude? When you cross-reference Matthew 5:5 you notice that this beatitude finds its roots in Psalm 37:11 where David says that “the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity”. Psalm 37 describes the meek or gentle person as a person who is not fearful during trials (V1,7,8) but rather, one who trusts the Lord while doing good (V3,5). A meek person understand that God is in control, and therefore they “rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7).
A story is is told of a a little girl on a a very turbulent flight; all the passengers around her were afraid and nervous, and noticing her calm demeanor, the passenger next to her asked why she was so calm. She answered, “because my dad is the pilot”. A meek person understands that God is the pilot of his life, and therefore is restful during trials. Paul in Philippians 4:5 exhorts us to “let your gentle spirit be known to all men”. Are we in control during trials? Are we showing the world that God is in control by exhibiting a self-controlled attitude during them? Are we anxious during trials or restful during them? A meek person who understands that God is in control will be in control of himself during hard times.
Another aspect of meekness is acceptance of God’s will in our lives. We see these two ideas connected in Matthew 11:28-30. In these verses Jesus invites “all who are weary and heavy-laden” to come, and the promise for those that come is that they will find rest. When Jesus invites us to come to him, it is also an invitation to take his yoke upon us and to learn from him. Its an invitation to work; that is what the imagery of the yoke implies. It’s an invitation to accept his will for our lives. Notice what he says about his yoke in verse 30, “for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” We might find that confusing and even contradicting. How can Jesus say that his yoke is easy and his burden is light? Easy and light are the last words that i would have used to describe God’s will. So how did Jesus find doing God’s will to be easy, light, and not burdensome when we find it to be so hard and difficult? Verse 29 is the answer, “for I am gentle and humble in heart”. For those who are proud, the commandments of God are felt as burdensome and restrictive. But for meek people, God’s will is an invitation to rest in God Himself, and therefore they not only accept it, but embrace it with joy.