Some time back I had the opportunity to do a devotional for a local football team, and I said, “I hope you become known as the meekest football team in the region.”
You can imagine how that went over, mostly because we do not understand what “meek” means. What those kids heard at first was that I wanted them to be known as a team that got walked all over by everyone else. That is how we understand meekness, isn't it?
What they did not understand (until I explained it to them) was that if they were a meek football team, they could be a powerhouse in the area that no one would easily defeat. Once you understand what meekness is, you can be comfortable with it.
Jesus begins the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 by saying, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” We usually read that one quickly and jump to some others to see if we can find something we like better. That is because we do not understand what it is to be meek.
The author of Hebrews tells us that Moses was the meekest man who ever lived. If you know anything at all about Moses, you might not think he was meek at all. Moses confronted the Egyptian Pharaoh and demanded that he release the Hebrew people to allow them to go home to Canaan. You just didn't go make demands to Pharaoh, but Moses did. And then Moses led them out into the wilderness, at one point “going up into the thick darkness where God was.” Moses was not someone you could walk over!
A very simple definition of meekness is this — “strength under control.”
That is why I said to the football team that they were to be meek, to have their strength under control. It meant that an offensive linemen would not use his strength to be a ball carrier — that was not his job. A quarterback was not to use his strength to be a receiver, he was to pass the ball, not catch the ball. Each player had a unique strength, and when each player used his strength under the coaching of the head coach, the football team would be a force to be reckoned with. They would be able to defeat anyone who came against them.
We have just celebrated Father's Day, and I read several posts on Facebook where children talked of their fathers as the best dads ever.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians that fathers were not to “provoke their children to anger.” If you wonder about that phrase, it has a lot to do with being a meek father.
Fathers have awesome power over their children, and unfortunately some fathers prefer to dominate and intimidate their children rather than to love and nurture them. They use their strength to instill fear rather than respect, and I guarantee you that when you instill fear into your children, that fear will sooner or later become anger. We always convert our fear into anger.
But a meek father does two things. First, a meek father has his strength under the control of someone or something greater than himself, like a football player has his strength under the control of a coach. All of us are influenced by someone or something, and a wise father will choose the best influence. Those of us who are under the control of the Master will allow the Master to shape us and control our strength so we do what is right.
Second, a meek father will learn how to teach his own children how to be strong and brave, but to have their own strength under control. There are plenty of stories in the Bible of what happens to people who do not control their strength, and things rarely turn out well for them.
So this year, fathers, determine to be the meekest fathers ever. Be a tower of strength for your children, but a tower of strength they respect rather than fear because they know you seek only their good.
Dr. Jay Hodges can be reached at Jayhodges610@yahoo.com.