Within arguably the greatest sermon of all time, (The Sermon on the Mount), Jesus lays out the framework of the Christian faith through a handful of sayings, what we know as the Beatitudes. Though only twelve verses, these statements serve as the mission and vision of Christianity as a whole. By this point in Jesus’ ministry and teachings, we are familiar with Jesus dropping statements which counter how the “world” would think or act. In Matthew 5:5, Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
A quick google search defines meek as quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive. If I am being honest, when I hear the word “meek,” I find myself associating it with the word “weak.” However, the ancient Greek word (“praus”), where we get the word meek from, has a lot more meaning packed into it. The word “praus” was borrowed from the military and is related to the taming and training of a horse for battle. Here is an excerpt from a word study that was done on the word “meek” that is helpful: “The Greek army would find the wildest horses in the mountains and bring them to be broken in. After months of training, they sorted the horses into categories. When a horse passed the conditioning required for a war horse, its state was described as ‘praus,’ [that is, meek]. The war horse had ‘power under authority,’ ‘strength under control.’ A war horse never ceased to be determined, strong and passionate. However, it learned to bring its nature under discipline. It gave up being wild, unruly, out of control and rebellious. A war horse learned to bring that nature under control. It would now respond to the slightest touch of the rider, stand in the face of cannon fire, thunder into battle and stop at a whisper. It was now ‘meek.’”
Meekness shows up in the Bible on a number of occasions. James writes, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:19-21). As a church, last year we spent months looking at the life of Moses. In Numbers 12:3, Moses is described as being, “Very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.” David writes in Psalm 37:11, “But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”
As I was taking a closer look at our call to be meek, I am reminded of the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control). These all coincide with the call for us to be meek. Within the Sermon on the Mount and throughout many of the teachings in Scripture, we really are called to “be” more than we are called to “do.” A lot of times I think it is easy to get discouraged by what we have done in our past, or by the things that we are not doing today that we wish we were. Maybe we need to wake up each day and focus firstly on who God is calling us to be, rather than the work we feel we need to accomplish, even in the name of Jesus. Through being meek, may we be filled with the strength of God to stand and face the battle, but disciplined enough to hear the gentle whisper of God as He leads and guides from within.