The essence of meekness is to accept people at their full value -- before God, as well as in relationship to other human beings.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? You doing all right today? Oh, I trust everything’s all right at your house. You know, our days are not always wonderful days, they’re not always filled with the sunshine of joy and happiness. Sometimes things go wrong, and sometimes our tears have to fall. I know that. You live a while, you learn that life is that way. But you know something, you can always be filled with the joy of the Lord.
I always remember what Cyril Thompson said to me as I met him for the first time in Calcutta, India back in 1948. We had come in from the airport and skirted our way around the different traffic jams that were caused by camel caravans and Rolls-Royces and rickshaws, and what not. And now we were in the center of the city, in the little office that was occupied by the Youth for Christ. Hubert Mitchell was there and some of the others. And here came Cyril Thompson, they introduced him to me. “Well,” I said, “Brother, I’m glad to meet you. How are you?” He was from Great Britain, and he drew himself up to his full height of about six foot three, he said, “Brother, I am full of the joy of the Lord.” [chuckle]I remember that so clearly. He didn’t have a rupee to his name at that point. His support had fallen through. People who were supposed to support him in Great Britain hadn’t done so. And he was stony broke, but he was full of the joy of the Lord.
Oh, that taught me such a lesson. You can have joy even if things are going wrong. You know that. Look up and trust your blessed Lord to see you through. He will. He hasn’t brought you this far to drop you now. Well, somebody needed that, I’m sure, and now you have it.
Paul said, “Follow after,” that’s our word “pursue,” and the last word that we dealt with was the word love; agape, John 3:16 kind of love. Then he also says patience. We talked about that didn’t we? “Hupomone,” stay down. Don’t blow up or give up, but just stay down and wait on God. God’s timing is absolutely perfect, it’s exquisitely beautiful. He is never wrong, He’s never late, He never misses the mark, His timing is perfect. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage. He shall strengthen thine heart.
Now, then what? He says “meekness.” Meekness. What is meekness? Meekness is to people what humility is to God. Meekness is to people what humility is toward God. Humility means you depend on God every moment of the day because of how great He is and how dependent you are. Meekness recognizes the greatness of human beings around you and depends upon them and works with them. It’s a lowly kind of spirit that doesn’t lift itself up and brag about itself, but allows the other person some room to live and to accomplish.
Someone said to me many years ago, “Realize this, that every person you ever meet will be better at something than you are.” And someplace else I heard this saying, “The essence of tact,” you wanna be tactful? “The essence of tact is to treat every person you meet as though he or she were your superior, because in some ways, inevitably, they are.”
I think most people wanna be treated as being worthwhile people, as being individuals of value. Can you tell when somebody is just shrugging you off and trying to get rid of you? Oh, of course you can. Can you tell when someone is just tolerating you, even on the phone? You’re trying to talk with someone, and you can sense their impatience, even on the phone. Isn’t that true? The vibes, as we call them, come through. The essence of meekness is to accept people at their full value, as people, as individuals of value before God and in relationship to other human beings. It’s so important. He said, “You pursue meekness.”
You see, the problem is that the more successful you are, the harder it is to be meek, because you become self-sufficient. And a man who was a millionaire said to me, maybe 15, 20 years ago, I remember this, as I sat in his office. He said, “You know, when you get as rich as I am, you tend to sit in for Jehovah and just sort of run things.” [chuckle] Well, I admired his honesty. But you know, this is so true. The more successful you are at anything, the more self-sufficient you get.
You wanna watch out for that. I remember one time I was so sure that I had done so many weddings as a pastor that I didn’t really need the manual out of which to read. And this was a little wedding in the parsonage, just three or four people there as witnesses. And so I went through the wedding ceremony without a hitch. Went all the way through it, and I was thinking to myself, “Well, I didn’t need the manual after all. I know this by heart. ‘Dearly beloved, we’re gathered together in the Presence of God and these witnesses to join this man and this woman in the bonds of holy matrimony,'” and so on. I just had it down perfect. [chuckle] And when I was almost through, the bride looked up and said with some concern, “What about the ring?” Great day, I had completely forgotten it. [chuckle] So I said to her, “We’re gonna do that right now.” [laughter] You get self-sufficient when you become, at least in your own estimation, successful. Right? Oh, yeah. You have to watch it. He says, “Pursue meekness.”
Now, how do you do this? Let me just tick off some things that seem apparent, at least to me. Number one, realize how fallible you yourself are. Start with the fact that you’ve had to use the eraser on the end of the lead pencil more than once. You’ve made your own share of mistakes, and you’re still making them and you are, therefore, in a pretty good place to be meek toward other people, right? Start with the realization that you yourself are fallible and apt to make mistakes.
Number two, look at people whom you meet as being as what they really are, individuals of great value. You can encourage people if you just treat them as though they were valuable, because they are! When you cut folk down and shrug them off and say, “He’s a loser,” “She’ll never amount to anything,” at that point you’ve destroyed any rapport that you might have created between you and the individual. You’ve broken down any possibility of sharing Christ with them, and you’ve left scar tissue that may well linger in their minds and memories for a lifetime. Don’t do it that way. Accept people, even the unlikely ones, as having the real value that God has built in to their lives.
Maury Carlson and his son have through the years carried on a boy’s work up in Michigan, and I remember talking with him a good many years ago, he and I were on the same board together. I remember talking with him about problem boys. I said, “What do you do with a problem boy? The one who’s a troublemaker, the one who’s always starting fights?” “Well,” he said, “Oftentimes we make him sergeant-at-arms. That helps him work off his aggressions in a good way.” And he told me the story of one boy who was a particularly aggressive and ferocious kind of a person, always picking on everybody else. He needed two things: Number one, he needed to be saved and number two, he needed to be put to work. And so they worked on both of those levels and led him to the Lord Jesus, and then they made him sergeant-at-arms, and I’ll tell you, he carried it a little too far. [chuckle] Maury told me that he came in one day and this sergeant-at-arms had eight or 10 of the new arrivals down on their knees. He said, “You guys are gonna get saved or else.” [laughter] Well, don’t carry it that far.
But everybody you meet, even the troublemaker, has some value. I remember I was complaining to God about somebody years ago. You know, I tell God on people. [chuckle] If somebody isn’t treating me right, I tell the Lord, and He either straightens me out or He straightens the individual out, or sometimes both. But I was complaining about somebody who was picking on me, this would have been back in the ’40s somewhere, I was in Youth for Christ, and not everybody knew that I was as nice as I really was. You know that problem. So I was complaining to God about it, and when I stopped for breath, the blessed Spirit of God whispered something to me that I’ve always remembered. He said, “Leave him to me. He’s doing my work. You just leave him to me, and you keep on doing what I tell you to do.” Well, you know, that settled it.
God uses even the critics to do His work. Have you realized that? You don’t have to answer your critics. You don’t have to argue with people who disagree with you. Oftentimes, your critics are correct, learn from them. You don’t learn anything while you’re yelling at the top of your voice. Learn from your critics. You don’t have to answer them, you don’t have to fight with them, you don’t have to do anything with them, just leave them with God and keep on obeying Him. The main thing is to be sure you’re in the Will of God doing His Will and depending on Him day by day.
Number one in this matter of meekness: realize that you’re fallible and that you make your share of mistakes, and therefore, you have plenty of room to be meek toward people and humble toward God. Second, accept people for the value that they do bring to the human equation. People are valuable, they’re not all equally talented, they’re not equally gifted; some of them present a problem, but even the problem people when they’re full of the Spirit of God can be greatly used of God. Then what? Realize that every person you ever meet is your superior in some way. Now, if you think that’s a hasty Cookism, you just put it to work for a whole day, and you’ll find that it’ll transform your relationships with people. Every person you ever meet is your superior in some way.
Let me take you out to the outback down under in Australia. And you’re there in the middle of that great continent, and you’re off the road; you don’t know which way is home. You’re running out of water, and suddenly there appears one of the little bushmen, an Aborigine. He hasn’t got a very good command of English, he speaks pidgin English. He’s never been to school, he can’t use a calculator, and you have a portable computer in your bag and he wouldn’t know what to do with it.
But you know what he can do, he can take you out of that wilderness to a place of safety. He knows every track, every bent twig, every disturbed leaf; he knows where the animals have been; he knows where the trackless wilderness leads; he knows it like the back of his hand. He’s superior to you, isn’t he? In many ways. So if you wanna pursue meekness, you treat everybody you ever meet today, that is, as though they are, indeed, superior to you in some ways. Oh, I tell you, it’s gonna make a difference. For one thing, it’ll make people feel safe with you, because if you treat them with the value that they have and the potential that they have, they feel safe with you.
They know you’re not out to get them, and they’ll cooperate with you, and they’ll appreciate you, and they’ll work harder at the job that is theirs. Oh, so many good by-products from meekness as the Spirit of God leads you, and with all of that, pray your way through the day so that God can use a word from you to encourage others along the way. A meek person makes a great encourager.
Father God, today, oh, may we be meek people, humble people, Spirit-filled people, loving people. In Jesus’ name I ask this, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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