TV anchorman Tom Brokaw was wandering through Bloomingdale’s in New York one day, shortly after he was promoted to co-host on the Today Show. The Today Show was a pinnacle of sorts for Brokaw after years of work, first in Omaha, then for NBC in Los Angeles and Washington, and he was feeling good about himself. He noticed a man watching him closely. The man kept staring at him and finally, when the man approached him, Brokaw was sure he was about to reap the first fruits of being a New York television celebrity. The man pointed his finger and said, “Tom Brokaw, right?” “Right,” said Brokaw. “You used to do the morning news on KMTV in Omaha, right?” “That’s right,” said Brokaw, getting set for the accolades to follow. “I knew it the minute I spotted you,” the fellow said. Then he paused and added, “Whatever happened to you?”
There was a seminary professor who was much admired by his students because he always managed to keep his spiritual vitality at a high peak. Clearly he was a man who had found rest for his soul. Clearly he was a man whose burden was light. One day, a student who was plagued with anxiety came to him and said, “You always seem so secure and so at peace with yourself. How do you do it?” The professor said that he did what all good Christians are supposed to do — like praying and Bible reading, and going to church. “And,” he said, “I let the everyday things speak to me of God and the sacredness of God’s present moment with me. For example I walk in the rain and throw my head back and let the raindrops fall on my face and I get a revelation.” Sometime later, the student and the professor met again. The student said, “I tried to follow your example. I took a long walk in the rain and I threw my head back and I let the raindrops fall on my face and the water ran down my neck and I didn’t get any revelation; I just felt like a fool.” “Well,” the professor replied, “what more of a revelation than that do you want the first time?”
The Bible is filled with what we call “the great reversals.” In fact, Christianity is a great reversal from the world. You want to be great, you have to be a servant. He who loses his life, will gain it. He who saves his life, will lose it. The poor man wins the kingdom, the rich man loses his soul. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth, is a great reversal.
Meekness is a powerful word in the Bible. Meekness is patience in the reception of injuries. “You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:38) It is neither meanness nor a surrender of our rights, nor cowardice; but it is the opposite of sudden anger, of malice, of long-harbored vengeance. When Jesus stood before Annas a solider hit Him. “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” (John 18:23) In Philippi, Paul was imprisoned (Acts 16:37). But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison.” Meekness is the reception of injuries with a belief that God will vindicate us. “Vengeance is his; he will repay,” Rom 12:19. It little becomes us to take his place, and to do what he has promised to do.
Meekness produces peace. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. To inherit the earth became, therefore, an expression denoting those blessings. When our Saviour uses this language here, He means that the meek shall be received into His kingdom, and partake of its blessings, and of the glories of the heavenly Canaan hereafter. Meekness is a discipline. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Heb 12:11)
The meek prosper. The value of meekness, even in regard to worldly property and success in life, is often exhibited in the Scriptures. It is also seen in common life that a meek, patient, mild man is the most prospered. An impatient and quarrelsome man raises up enemies; often loses property in lawsuits; spends his time in disputes and broils rather than in sober, honest industry; and is harassed, vexed, and unsuccessful in all that he does. “Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. The meek have discovered that prosperity is never found in material things.
The meek find value in servanthood. The meek are accepting of others because they understand their own sinfulness. Elders are to be servant leaders, not rulers or dictators. God doesn’t want His people to be used by petty, self-serving tyrants. Servant elders have chosen a life of service on behalf of others. Like the servant Christ, they sacrifice their time and energy for the good of others. Only elders who are loving, humble servants can genuinely manifest the incomparable life of Jesus Christ to their congregations and a watching world. …so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” (John 13:4)
A horse becomes useful when it is broken and becomes willing to submit to the will of his master. The Christian is also only useful when willing to submit to the will of his or her master. Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman philosopher, identified the following traits of a successful person: Consciousness of an honest purpose in life. A just estimate of himself and everyone else. Frequent self-examinations. Steady obedience to what he knows to be right. Indifference to what others may think or say. Just as the turtle won over the have, so the meek shall inherit the earth.