The Bare Soul
September 13, 2009
The Beatitudes - Meekness
The following is the message
text and audio recording of a sermon titled "The Beatitudes - Meekness"
delivered to the homeless
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on September 10, 2009.
The Beatitudes - Meekness - September 10, 2009
Matthew 5:5 - Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Throughout the millennia, many have sought to conquer and control the kingdoms of this earth. It is said that when Alexander the Great saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer. Whether this is true or not regarding this ancient Greek, it is an important lesson regarding where true strength and power originate and ultimately flow. Alexander, like every other megalomaniac before and after him, misunderstood that the kingdoms of this world were not theirs to hold sway over. Certainly, one might establish a kingdom or government with a dynastic influence of a few generations, but what happens after that? Solomon understood the folly of men that entertained the thought that their kingdoms would be perpetual. In Ecclesiastes 2:18-19, the king was obviously vexed by this revelation as he stated: Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity. Solomon acquiesced to the notion that there was no true hope or guarantee for a posterity that would fulfill the vision of their predecessor. The apex of arrogance is to believe that a person in this lifetime can truly influence generations to come in a self-perpetuating kingdom mind-set. Through his vain madness, Adolf Hitler was one who believed in such a thing -- that a 1,000 year Reich would be created on this earth (through his twisted Nordic/Aryan vision) where a purified race would exist to rule over all others. In his demonic mind, he was diametric in thinking to One who lived nearly 2,000 years earlier who stated that a true, lasting inheritance is not based on humanistic strength, but on gentleness and meekness born not of this earth. Jesus Christ proclaimed that in order to inherit the earth, one must be born into a new family that possesses particular character which compliments those who would be counted worthy as title holders of the kingdoms of this world.
By human standards, meekness and gentleness would certainly not seem to be the criteria to control and conquer. None of us will probably ever be in a place to wield influence over peoples or nations as many past or current heads of state. However, we all have the power to influence our own respective cosmos where we live and work everyday. Our influence will always be in direct proportion with our ability to wield that power with the character of Jesus. I have always been struck by the story of a recent law school graduate who was seeking employment with a prestigious firm in downtown Manhattan. Entering the brass and glass revolving doors, the young man is met by a surly security guard who checks over his invitation and rudely motions him toward the elevator. "Nineteenth floor!", he bellows after the applicant as he hurriedly catches the next car heading up. The indignant looks of other riders as they pass floor after floor makes him realize that he has not dressed for success as many of them in their $1,000 suits. Finally, he reaches the 19th floor where he is met in the foyer by a receptionist who smugly passes him off to the senior partner's private secretary. She leads him down a hallway without a word, and tells him to wait outside a mahogany set of double doors until the senior partner can see him. By this time, the young man is nervous as beads of perspiration appear on his forehead, not knowing what to expect next. But suddenly, the doors fling open and a jovial, good-natured fellow comes out and vigorously shakes his hand. He invites the young man in his office and they have a pleasurable visit while the private secretary is now eagerly and with smiling enthusiasm providing the two with beverages of their choice. Within an hour, the young lawyer is now part of the firm and the attitude of everyone he had encountered up to that point had changed remarkably. What had happened? First of all, the man with the power had shown that strength was not typified in surliness or trying to "lord it over" another. On the contrary, he was secure in who he was and was free to allow others (such as his new junior associate) the grace that he gave so characteristic to his nature. Understanding that meekness and a gentle spirit are not weaknesses and that true strength comes from a place of security is to understand the dynamic that Jesus desires for us all to comprehend. For when we know our true position and our meek and humble authority that are demonstrative of our relationship with Him, then we can truly understand our "quietness of strength" (Isaiah 30:15) in addition to the assurance of our inheritance as His heir.
Jesus teaches us in this beatitude to first of all comprehend another facet of the character of His Father. Contrary to those who had sought to rule by force, Jesus told His disciples that this was indeed a "rule by farce" -- a proverbial "house of cards" that would never endure. Jesus knew and understood that man's kingdoms would come and go, yet He spoke of an eternal kingdom that would one day come "... on earth as it is in heaven". The Lord sent forth His invitation that day by forever excluding all those who would seek power and influence by compelling obedience through contrived force. Conversely, the Psalmist speaks of how God desires to overshadow humankind with divine strength through man's humility, stating: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1). When one lives under God's shadow there is no need to be anything but gentle and meek, for God has already vanquished His foes. Rather, it becomes a continual reminder to rest in the finished work of the cross. Jesus told His disciples that if they had seen Him, they had seen the Father, that their respective natures were one in the same (John 14:9). Even as Jesus taught His disciples that His Father's character was meek and gentle, even so He tells them the same about Himself in Matthew 11:29. By taking upon themselves the yoke of Christ on a daily basis, they too would discover the meekness and mildness of their Savior, and would ultimately find rest for their souls. For is not rest what all men seek, even through their struggles?
God does not want any of us to settle in this lifetime with our own "kingdom building". He has sent His Son, the exact representation of Himself, to make us heirs of the inheritance that He won back from the wicked one by His death, burial, and resurrection. Anything other than becoming part of God's Grand Design for Humankind is an illusion -- a dream of so-called self-actualization that will eventually turn into a nightmare of remorse. Whether you are an "Alexander the Great" or a "Linda the Homemaker" or a "Bobby the Mechanic", the influence we build on this earth that is separate from Jesus' plan for us regarding His Kingdom is "vanity of vanities". In reality, nothing remains to be conquered because Jesus is already victorious in our families, our jobs, and in every instance of our lives. Jesus Christ desires for all who know Him to live like heirs of this earth, for all who know Him will reign upon this earth. Not as those with lust for power, but as those who have laid down their lives for their Savior and have taken up His yoke. As heirs, we all have the duty and responsibility to begin reigning in this life as wise stewards of what the Lord has entrusted to us. May we all be meek and gentle as our Lord, waiting and longing for His coming when He takes full ownership of a redeemed earth.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the meek and gentle Lamb of God that You sent to this earth to die for us all. May we live as He ... taking up His yoke, bearing His cross, until that final day when we all inherit the fullness of Your love that You've ordained for all those who love Your appearing. Thank you Father for Your wisdom through this wonderful plan of redemption. In Jesus' Name, Amen!
Your Barefoot Servant,
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