Jesus taught: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth,” (Matt 5:5).
According to one dictionary, meek describes a person willing to go along with whatever other people want to do without ever speaking up for themselves. That’s not quite what Jesus is conveying here. Another dictionary has a better definition: a meek person intentionally makes sacrifices on the behalf of others without resentment.
Saint Francis advised the Franciscans to own nothing except two robes and a belt, encouraging his followers to live in reed huts and beg for their food in order to spend their days caring for the poor and the sick. This is meekness.
But oh, how times have changed in the church!
I recently received a call from a faith organization asking for money. They didn’t say they would allocate it to caring for the poor and sick or even teaching the message of Jesus. They said they needed larger reserves to impress the people they were interviewing for a leadership position.
This lets slip an enormous problem plaguing much of Christianity.
We need—at least we think we need—members and their tithes to hire staff, maintain property, keep the van running, and print those Sunday bulletins. Taking care of the hungry and acting as the hands and feet of Christ often takes a backseat. The job of keeping members happy so they will contribute becomes a tremendous burden for church leadership. In the end, we dare not teach Jesus’s message for fear of alienating the big donors. After all, who wants to hear that we must love our enemy, provide for the destitute, and put others first—even before building and maintaining the church clubhouse?
Church possessions can quickly become the death of a church. But possessions can also get a strangle hold on individual people. Their maintenance takes up our time and energy, leaving the more important things neglected.
But Jesus teaches an alternative way of living. He promises that when love reigns, the earth no longer belongs to those who can buy or steal it. Instead, the sacrificial servants who prioritize others before themselves will inherit the earth.
Suggested Spiritual Practice for this Week:
At the beginning of each day, ask God to show you
where you can make sacrifices that will help others.
At the end of the day, journal how that went.