Meek – For The Glory Of God; For Service to Mankind
By Lalith Mendis
"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5).
What is the relationship between meekness and inheriting the earth? Meekness is disinheriting, dispossessing and divestiture. Jesus who was God divested Himself of the glory of God and became man. "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Phil. 2:6,7).
This is the great mystery of Godliness (1 Tim. 3:16). Meekness lets go and does not grasp rights. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ" (Phil. 2:5). "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves" (Phil. 2:3).
Strife and vainglory arise from an assertive, rights-grasping mentality. Jesus "thought not to grasp." The Greek word here is "harpagmon" which means prize grasping. Jesus grasped not, but let go. He who disinherits himself shall inherit....
What is the "earth" that the meek shall inherit? The Scripture says that "the Lord will give the heathen for our inheritance" (Psa. 2:8). This prophecy meant for the Messianic Servant-King is valid for the messianic servant--the Church. One application of "earth" is to its inhabitants. When one thinks of a country he would mean its people. The meek who follow the Lamb are given the authority to establish God’s rulership on earth. We inherit the peoples for God. Mission agencies used the term "occupy." The verb "inherit" refers to entering into the promised portion (Deut. 4:1; 16:20; Isa. 57:13; 60:21).
Men like A. B. Simpson and Hudson Taylor not only occupied territories for the Lord with the Gospel mandate, but also had mission communities possessing lands and buildings needed for the work of the Lord. These saints of God and other godly pioneers, of course, used all this for the glory of God. George Müller by prayer alone dispatched hundreds of thousands of pounds for the missionary enterprise besides caring for the orphans. Selfish men have tried to inherit "earth" that belongs to others. But getting behind the Gospel, the godly men of global renown developed much for the glory of God. In every revival--national or global, saints of God gave their lands, houses and treasures for the work of the kingdom.
The Meek Do Not Covet
Covetousness is just the opposite of meekness and is like idolatry. A covetous man will lay greedy eyes and a grasping hand on many things he desires. One very needy area of a believer’s life where meekness must be worked in, is his attitude to earthly possessions. God and mammon will always compete. Having given one-tenth, many assume that the nine-tenths is theirs to spend as they wish. This is not New Testament Christianity. Christians do not lay a claim to the nine-tenths either, though we earn it, by God’s grace.
Our attitude to mammon will govern how much God will entrust to us of the true treasures of heaven. "If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?" (Luke 16:11). The man who abuses earthly treasure for his lust will also similarly abuse heavenly gifts for his own advancement.
Meekness Is Quietness
The sanctified believer will walk in the quietness of heart and spirit through a department store, purchasing for needs and not for greed. A crucial time comes to every believer or minister when Satan will lay bare the glamour of this world and say, "Go for it." As the number in the congregation increases, many who began humble and obedient can become powerful and commanding. To a Christian businessman, a time comes at which he has to make a decision on his first love. It is here that the heart to disinherit (be meek) in order to inherit the eternally valuable in God’s way, must be steadfast.
The meek man will not have a ruffled spirit when he sees another with a newer vehicle, more affluent house or a luxurious office. His heart is fixed on the unshakable. The meek man does not say, "Let me own what the other has." Psalm 37:1-11 gives a vivid description of the meek man. He does not fret about the success of evil doers, the proud and the boastful. He trusts in the Lord and commits his ways to the Lord. His judgment is with the Lord. He rests in the Lord and waits patiently. He does not take wrath at offenses committed against him. Jesus seeks such!
Meekness and Authority
The Lord can share His authority only with the meek who will not abuse that authority. Moses was the meekest on earth in his day (Num. 12:3). God could trust Moses with tremendous authority. When he prayed, the earth opened up and swallowed the rebellious (Num. 16:31-32). Moses disinherited the riches of Egypt to suffer with the brethren (Heb. 11:24-25). Moses refused a divine offer to make a great nation through him (Exod. 32:10). High exaltation comes with deep abasement (Phil. 2:8-11). "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time" (1 Pet. 5:6).
The costly mistake of Moses’ life was in thinking just once that the authority was his. "Must I give you water?" (Num. 20:10). He had nothing the Lord had not given him. "So that no one may boast before Him" (1 Cor. 1:29). "For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" (1 Cor. 4:7).
Meekness and Prayer
It is natural breath for the meek to pray. He has no other response to injustice, oppression, cruelty, insults, obstacles or whatever. The meek pray when proud men resist the Gospel. The meek pray when godless militants parade in great pomp. The meek pray when persecutors oppose them. We remember Stephen’s prayer in martyrdom that emulated His Saviour. This may have been the first seed sown in the arrogant heart of the militant Saul of Tarsus. Is it a coincidence that the nine gifts of the Spirit are to be matched by the ninefold fruit of the Spirit? (Gal. 5:22). Meekness is one of the harvest of the Spirit.
When we see our nation, our government, our neighbors, our pastor or fellow believers breaking the will of God, what is our response? Is it criticism and backbiting, or supplication in meekness? If we can preserve all our spiritual energy for fervent supplication in meekness rather than expend it in angry reaction, the world will experience a revolution of love led by the meek army of the Lamb of God. The world and angels await the Spirit of the redeemed claiming the nations by the meekness of prayer and by meek men and women rising to do great battles of the Spirit. When the meek lay claim to their inheritance by prayer, which is the only method heaven recognizes,
"Grace and love like mighty rivers
Pours incessant from above,
And heaven’s peace and perfect justice
Kisses a guilty world in love."
(Robert Lowry 1826-99)
Meekness and Faith
Faith is the currency God uses on earth to advance His kingdom. Faith involves knowledge and affirmation of God’s character and confidence in and confession of His goodness and providence. When I suffer or have a setback, I await in meekness and faith for God’s next unerring, unfailing move. This waiting in faith needs a lowly heart. We have often had to trust the Lord and crush our hearts before Him as we beseeched Him for an advancement in the ministry.
Many are driven to expect and then presumptuously pretend great works of the Holy Spirit’s moving. When the Holy Spirit does not manifest His power, then pretenders simulate. Meekness provides patience without which we will not inherit the promises of faith. "We want each of you to show the same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure" (Heb. 6:11).
I must plan, I must pray, I must set goals and work toward them. But it is God who can give the increase (1 Cor. 3:6-8). Certainly if I do not till, sow and water, God cannot give the increase. Faith operates only in humble dependence. Some flashy methods of crowd-gathering into churches, do not need the Holy Spirit. They only need slick advertising techniques. Such crowds flit from church to church without regeneration.
When I deal with an errant co-laborer, I need to work with faith. "Anti-faith" says, "He will never change; he will always be like this." Faith coupled with meekness will pray, "Lord, you can change my brother." It is sad that many Christians work on anti-faith and contribute to the progress of the kingdom of darkness. "O Jesus, fill my heart with trust, love, dependence and patience, to see the will of God done in me and through me in others!" The proud man will look upon failure as a cause for discouragement. The meek man, even when threatened with stones, will strengthen himself in his God, for example, David (1 Sam. 30:6); Moses (Ex. 17:4); Joshua (Num. 14:10); Stephen (Acts 7:58-59).
The meek man will not dictate the agenda to God, but will await God’s promotion. When God sees faith in a meek man, He will work mightily to show Himself strong (2 Chron. 16:9; Isa. 64:1-4). The claims that proud men make with "faith-goals" are not based on faith but presumption. Faith and meekness when combined will advance the kingdom of God powerfully. It is said of A. B. Simpson that many unbelievers who worked in the headquarters of the C&MA, found him to be consistently Christ-like during the ten hours of an office day, over many years. Is it a wonder that God can shake the world with such gentle giants?
There are others who pretend meekness when actually they are quiet, hard people, who do not offer to serve the Lord but serve only themselves. They are outwardly polite and keep smiling, yet are unbroken and unavailable to the Lord.
Meekness and Correction
We need to think, speak and act with faith regarding the errors of sinners, saints, co-laborers, church leaders and governments. Faith redeems. When meek, our only response will be reconciliation and healing. The meek person easily mourns with faith, expecting the will of God to be done. "God’s astounding power awaits the cry of faith that says, Thy will be done" (Graham Kendrick).
Meekness with faith will drive us to intercession regarding the errors of our respective governments or regarding national idolatry and cultural ungodliness. "Jesus, make me like the meek, atoning Lamb of God, given over to be slaughtered." Dying daily comes easily to the meek one (2 Cor. 4:10-16; 1 Cor. 10:31). "My nation...can turn to Christ; all its ungodliness I bear on my heart. Since Jesus loved me while I was a sinner I have long-suffering and lovingkindness for all my brethren and my sinful countrymen who defile themselves in idolatry." Prayer is the natural breath of the meek man. "...restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself lest thou also be tempted" (Gal. 6:1).
Meekness and Learning
Some of my most trying times have come when my co-laborers sought their own end. Pains and hurt were inevitable. Yet these teach us. The first rest offered in Matthew 11:28-30 is unconditional. "Come unto Me -- I will give you rest." The next step is about lifelong rest by learning of Jesus--the meek and lowly One. This is the one thing we must do all our life. It is sad to see how many pastors limit their Christian experience to gathering a group that will feed their need.
Colonel Arnolis Weerasooriya (1858-1888), a Sri Lankan for whose life and labor General William Booth had high praise, would say, "I will touch the feet of anyone who has walked with Jesus more than I, and learn of him."
Every failure is a learning experience to the meek pastor. If he gathers 10,000 within the flock, he still is humbled to remember the millions yet unreached. All our life is a learning experience. The knowledge of the Saviour who called us is inexhaustible. The meek man expects a fresh revelation of heavenly life to begin his day. Such a life is filled with the fullness of God.
The blessing of the meek is that the Lord upholds him always (Psa. 37:24). He treads a path ordered by the Lord (Psa. 37:23). Many haste impatiently toward ministry or business success. They cannot wait out the ordered delays. The meek man lends generously all the time because all he has is received (Psa. 37:26). The meek do not struggle against the will of the Lord. The Lord finds it easy to instruct them. Their ear is ever open to His instruction.
I fear to see Christians who day in and day out live their own lives utterly unmindful of any heavenly order or the Lord’s voice. There are many lords in the Lord’s body. Many leaders but few to follow. Many masters but few servants. Many speakers but few listeners. Many travelers but few remaining still. Many sightseers but few watchers. Many performers, but few prevailers. O Lord, send upon Your Church Your mighty Spirit--the Spirit of Your Son. Bring to our midst a revolution in meekness--a revolution of true values!
Meekness and Vindication
Having strength to act in our own defense, yet suffering insult and harm is the essence of meekness. The Lord Jesus could have brought down legions of angels to defend His Person; He chose otherwise (Matt. 26:53-54)....Jesus went like the Lamb for the slaughter. It is so unfortunate that the minister who evangelizes rapidly and gains many souls in a city often becomes the victim of envious eyes and comments of other pastors. He will have to wait the Lord’s vindication. If we are strong in Christ, we do not fear what insults can do to us. We trust our judgment to the Lord of Justice. We trust the Lord to take care of our reputation. After all we follow Him who made Himself of no reputation.
A leader close to John Wesley was troubled about the insults hurled at their leader in the newspapers and asked, "Mr. Wesley, what is the end of all this?" Wesley’s inimitable reply was, "The end of all this is glory to God and peace to all mankind." Let us abandon ourselves to the glory of God and to the service of fellow man.
"He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God" (Micah 6:8).
In all I do, in all I say
Please let Thy will be done.
Even in my inmost thoughts
Let me be like Thy son.
Keep me pure and holy, Lord
That I may worthy be
To serve Thee and my fellow men
And bring them all to Thee.
– Lalith Mendis is a qualified medical doctor. Since 1981 he has served the Lord full time as a writer and conference speaker in his homeland of Sri Lanka.