September 15, 2009

The Beatitudes Part 3

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." (Matthew 5:5)

Webster's Dictionary defines meek as: "1. enduring injury with patience and without resentment; 2. deficient in spirit and courage; 3. not violent or strong". None of these sound particularly attractive. The word that is used in the Greek is 'praus' which is a "mildness of disposition" or "gentleness of spirit", which sounds much better than a deficiency of spirit if you ask me.

What does meek look like to you? The idea of being meek flies right in the face of current culture and yet it seems like there might be some wisdom in Jesus' idea of having a gentle spirit. How often have you and I wished that some of the people we have encountered had treated us with a gentle spirit? How many times have you and I had the opportunity to treat others with gentleness but instead acted selfishly one way or another?

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." (Matthew 5:6)

While I'm on the Greek kick...hunger = 'peinao' as a metaphor means "to seek with eager desire" and thirst = 'dipsao' figuratively means "those who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened."

I can't help but look at these definitions and think to myself if I am really seeking with eager desire those things that will refresh and support my soul. I believe that it is only Jesus that can refresh and support my soul and so I must make it a point to desire Him. Do you and I have such a thirst for righteousness that nothing will quench it apart from spending time in God's Word, on our knees in prayer and in community with the Body as we strive to be the hands and feet of Christ to a world that is feeding its appetite with things that will only make it sick?

Jesus tells us that if we seek, we'll find (Luke 11:9-10) for the sake of those we encounter we must continue to seek Him and nothing less.


marty morrow said...

I think you have hit on a good example of things lost in translation with the modern definition of the word "meek." I'm guessing the Greek word and meaning was closer to what was really meant. One interpretation is that Jesus was trying to tell us that the path to him is not thru loud, boustrous behaviors (or wearing pointy miters, or building huge basillicas, or, or...) because he can see what is in your heart and that the meek, through their quiet confidence, have that understanding - a confidence in knowing that the path to him is by truly believing, and nothing else.

Mary-Barbara said...

What does meek look like to me? Let's just say I don't see it a whole lot when I look in the mirror. Being meek is in that same category as being submissive. It doesn't seem to come naturally.

Some of my favorite verses, the ones I keep on hand for daily encouragement, the "this is who I want to be for Jesus" verses allude to being meek. 1 Peter 5:5 reminds me to serve others in humility and humble myself, Romans 12:1-3 talks about offering my body as a living sacrifice, Psalm 119:57 talks about obedience, and Mark 12:29-31 tells me that to follow Jesus I need to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind and my neighbor as myself.

So which comes first? Do I have to be meek to do these things or by doing these things do I become meek?

Matt Lipan said...

marty morrow: thanks for the read and comment.

i think you're right, the loud or boisterous behavior is seldom, if ever, the best way to convey the message of Christ. Jesus is a great example of this "quiet confidence" that you talked about. it seems like the world would overlook the meek but i can't help but think that eventually people will notice and then start to ask questions which provides a perfect opportunity to talk about our faith.

good stuff, thanks for sharing! looking forward to hearing more thoughts from you.

Matt Lipan said...

Mary-Barbara: thanks for the read and comment.

it certainly isn't easy to be meek is it? though i do find it interesting that it comes easier for some than others. maybe it has to do with personalities, but it seems like that would excuse some for not being meek?

great question, another version of "the chicken or the egg?" that's a tough one because it seems like it's both. it makes me think of the tension we experience of God's Kingdom in that it is "now but not yet". doesn't it seem like Jesus talks about a number of things like this?

thanks for being willing to share. some good passages and certainly some good thoughts.