Before I forget, let me thank everyone who helped out on Saturday with our all-church clean-up day. We had spacklers and painters, cleaners and re-organizers, and several of us running garbage loads to the dumpster. If you noticed, everything looks so much better now -- but we had just a few too few workers (and too little paint) to do everything that we’d wanted to do, so we’ll have one more painting day between now and Resurrection Sunday (so watch your emails for a note from the office). But since people worked so hard on Saturday, that final painting day should go super fast.
But mark your calendars for Saturday, April 12. That’s when we will be hosting another Passover Seder meal that evening. If you’ve never experienced a traditional Jewish Passover meal, then I’d invite you to come join us for this special presentation, which not only walks us through a classic Seder meal (led by a Jewish Christian missionary), but also explains the meal from a decidedly Christian perspective. Oh, and if you’re joining us, consider inviting an unchurched friend to come with you -- it’s a great opportunity for outreach.
In our message this week, we continued through the Beatitudes of Jesus -- that list of blessings that He used to begin His famous “Sermon on the Mount” to His disciples in Matthew 5. This week, we talked about what it means to be “meek,” and why the meek will inherit the earth.
First off, most people use the word, “meek,” as kind of a synonym for “weak” -- it’s like you’re so mild-mannered that you’re essentially a doormat or a milksop. But that’s confusing, since Jesus calls Himself “meek” in Matthew 11:29 and 21:5 -- and Jesus was hardly weak or a doormat.
Really, the word is pointing to power under control -- being willing to trust more in God than in your own fists. It’s having the strength of character to stand up against evil without retaliating in kind -- to decide that you’re not going to allow someone else’s weakness and sin to rob you of your faith, your calm, or your joy.
As David used the concept in Psalm 37, the point of meekness is to be the opposite of “fretting” -- the opposite of thinking that your anxieties and your reactions to other people’s evils will be what will save the day. Instead, we’re called to lay our anxieties to the side and allow God to be... well... Good. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t respond to evil, but rather that our responses should be directed, motivated, and instigated by God.
Let’s be honest -- most of the time when we wade into a fight (whether it’s physical or verbal), it’s not because we’re righteously indignant. It’s mostly because we’re angry, or hurt, or scared about what would happen if we didn’t fight back. How would the world look different if everyone chose to wade into fights only when God called them into them?
So really, being meek is ultimately about being strong -- strong enough to overcome your own fears and anxieties, and strong enough not to be led into sin yourself in reaction to the sins of others. As Lao Tzu once wrote, “To conquer others is to have strength, but to conquer yourself is to be strong.” Let me encourage everyone to focus on being strong for Jesus.