This deep and thought-provoking guest post was written by Luke Tarassenko, a doctoral student in theology at the University of Oxford, and, until recently, a youth worker at St. Aldate’s Church, Oxford. Luke worked with Rolland and Heidi Baker’s Iris Ministries in Mozambique this summer.
We’d love to hear your comments and reactions. Tune in tomorrow for Dr. Kaaren Mathias, who has worked with Servants of Asia’s Poor, Doctors Without Borders etc.
“Meek” is not a cool word. Rarely, if ever, will you hear someone pay the compliment “You’re really meek,” remark “That was so meek,” or simply exclaim “Wow, meek!”
It now becomes a bit clearer why the word isn’t used so much. After all, who wants to be thought of as soft? Who wants to be gentle, humble and submissive? The world mocks such people. On the contrary, the world teaches us to be confident in ourselves, to look out for number one, to take what we can get and to make sure we don’t let people walk all over us. We are to stand up for our rights, and avoid people manipulating us or taking us for a ride at all costs by making sure we’re always in control and in charge of what’s going on. Jesus taught exactly the opposite attitude : he commended meekness. And he lived it too. Of course, he knew there was a right time for getting angry, for passionate confrontation and speaking out (like when he overturned the tables in the temple) but he also knew the value of meekness. He knew that there was actually a gargantuan power in gentleness, because exhibiting it requires faith in God, that he is in control, that he is able to transform humanly pathetic situations with resurrection glory.
Jesus was soft and gentle time and time again with people, even “sinners” who he knew were living wrongly before God (take Zacchaeus, the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, to name but a few). He was lovingly submissive to his Heavenly Father for his entire life, even to the point of death, when he submitted himself to the Roman authorities and allowed himself to be unfairly tried, horrifically beaten and executed on a cross.
For the great irony is that those who so un-meekly strive to dominate and possess the material things of this world will one day be robbed of even what little they really have, while those who out of humility submit themselves to Christ Jesus and consider all as loss compared with him will one day join him in the New Creation of Heaven and Earth. In this sense every Christian is someone who has to become meek and so will inherit the Earth. But, as again with the other beatitudes, the promise is not just one for a far-off time at the culmination of history but one which be fulfilled a billion times in miniature before that day comes. Just as we pray “thy Kingdom come on Earth as in Heaven”, there are instances of Heaven breaking into Earth here and now where we see the principle of the inheritance of the meek playing itself out.
Take for example Iris Ministries, a missionary organisation working in Mozambique. When their founders, Heidi and Rolland Baker, initially entered the country, the locals were extremely hostile to them and their white, Western religion. However, over time, as they witnessed the work they did and saw the fruit that it bore morally, socially and even economically, they were won over. Now the Mozambican Government actually GIVES Iris buildings to use as orphanages and development centers! The Bakers could have responded badly to the initial hostility they met with, Instead, they persisted in gently, humbly loving the people of Mozambique, in submission to them and to God. Through their meek and humble attitude, the Bakers have inherited portions of the Earth to use for God’s Kingdom.
So let us be meek. Let us be soft, gentle, humble and submissive in how we relate to God and how we relate to others, and take joy that such people will one day inherit the Earth.
For more information about NGO Iris Ministires, and to donate to them, please see