The meek shall rule the earth with Christ forever
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the gentle (meek), for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Jesus proceeds to teach the attitudes that are pertinent for blessedness. The attitude of meekness, which is to put the interest of others before self is the key to inheriting the earth. Inherit the earth simply means being granted authority to rule over creation. Jesus is exemplary of a life of meekness when He gives Himself amidst grave injustice to pay for the punishment due us. Indeed, blessed is the meek who inherits the earth and rules with Christ forever.
Blessed are the gentle (meek), for they shall inherit the earth.
The word gentle (praus in Greek) is not the most appropriate translation. The English Standard Version and the New King James Version uses the word meek which is a better representation of the original term praus. To be meek is to be considerate, not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance. To be meek is to consider the interests of others as being more important, it is to be actively involved in serving others without hidden agendas. It can be said that love is the basis of meekness. The opposite of meekness will be egoism and being self-centred.
To inherit the earth is to be given possession of all things. One who inherits the earth will be granted the authority to judge humanity and to rule with Christ. Before Jesus goes to the cross, He tells the disciples to stay the course of the kingdom.
“You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Luke 22:28-30
The reward of staying true to the gospel and in serving with meekness is the inheritance of the earth (sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel).
When Jesus is raised from the dead, authority over all creation is given to Him. After receiving authority from the Father, Jesus grants the disciples this same authority to establish God’s kingdom through discipleship. To be a disciple is to emulate Christ’s meekness and dominion, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:18-19).
How then do believers inherit the earth? By serving in the meekness of Christ with a pure heart. God does not look at how extensive or famous one’s ministry has become, but He judges the motives of our hearts. The apostle Paul teaches: the posture of the heart as being more important than one’s giftedness or achievements,
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Meekness as exemplified by Jesus
Jesus’s preaching itinerary and the decisions He makes concerning where and who He will minister to characterises His meekness. He is not drawn by huge crowds as some of our modern day ministers do. His heart is always moved by compassion, being drawn to the small towns and villages that need Him most. Every time the crowds seek Him and keeps Him from leaving them, he will say to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43).
When the time of the cross draws near, the Greeks from other parts of the Roman world come to seek Him out. They purpose to open for Jesus a new ministry opportunity that will certainly magnify Him as the Messiah of the world. However, Jesus, being determined not to be distracted by fame and power says to His disciples,
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” John 12:23-26
The meekness of Jesus is evident in His resolve to seek God’s approval as opposed to His personal wellbeing, even if it means dying an unjustified death. Jesus does not exalt Himself by showing how altruistic He is through the sacrifices He makes. In fact, Jesus has never explicitly told His disciples what the cross will have meant for the forgiveness of the world. The scene at the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is arrested impresses deeply in the disciples’ minds how He surrenders Himself in exchange for their freedom: Jesus answered (the Jews), “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” (John 18:8).
Our service must be motivated by righteousness and faithfulness to the task at hand, not by glory or fleshly presumption
God has predestined for everyone the scope of ministry and our mission is to fulfil it, nothing more. Having said, God is more concerned with the heart of the minister than the ministry. Therefore, we must be aware that in every decision and endeavour, God is looking for righteousness and faithfulness as opposed to how extensive our ministry have or will become. What confirms Abraham’s righteousness and glory is not his grand exploits in the land of Canaan, but a private affair of sacrificing Isaac as burned offering. What seals Jesus’s perfection is not his mass healings and miracles, but his tragic and shameful death on the cross. Both men draw no admiration from the world, but they change the world forever.
Many people confuse glory with glamour, faithfulness with fleshly presumption, and righteousness with ministry success. They endeavour to rule over the people not with meekness and truth but with fleshly ambition and greed. Jesus says to the false prophets of His day,
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23
There are also many who under the pretext of serving the community and blessing the world, pray to God for riches and progress in their careers. However, the devil sees their greed, and in wanting to see their downfall grant them their requests. Believers must never ask for earthly wealth, for it is fleeting, nor does it satisfy the possessor. But God will cause those who ask for the Spirit of meekness to inherit all of creation.
It is a good thing to be spirited and zealous in desiring to rule the world with Christ
The motive to rule (which is to inherit the earth) is to establish God’s justice and mercy on the earth. One cannot establish true justice and mercy in any community without the element of discipleship and dominion. Therefore, it is for the purpose of establishing God’s kingdom in which we assert our leadership.
In understanding divine leadership, there is no better model than Jesus Himself. What motivates Jesus’s dominion over humanity is His jealous love and protection over the souls of man. He does not come to be served but to serve by giving Himself to be punished so that humanity may live. Therefore, before God gives a man authority to rule over communities and companies, he must be found ready in his capacity to love and to suffer for the wellbeing of another. The authority to rule is given as a result of one’s meekness, not his capability.
Having said, the desire to inherit the earth is noble and is welcomed before God. We can begin by first allowing God to exercise His rule over our hearts and minds, which is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… and you shall love your neighbour as yourself (see Matthew 22:37-39).
Do you shy away from the opportunity to contribute to the community by serving others with meekness? In Jesus’s terms, to rule is to serve: The greatest among you shall be your servant (see Matthew 23:11). Therefore, do not pass up on the opportunities to serve with meekness and diligence.
When faced with an opportunity to give or to serve, do you have a tendency to ask the question: How does this benefit me? While we must also ask the question: How much will it cost me? We must take note of the promise of God, that he who serves (in church, in a charity organisation or at work) without selfish interests will get to rule with Christ forever.
Dear Lord, I pray that you sanctify my heart with the Spirit of meekness. I am willing to serve in whatever capacity or role that is needed in order to benefit my community, my company and the mission field. Imbue me with your virtues, so that I may rule with meekness and compassion. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.