During his campaign for president 30 years ago the first President George Bush spoke of a longing for a kinder and gentler nation. He also described those who volunteer and serve others as being like a thousand points of light, with service shining bright in the midst of a dark world.
The call for a kinder, gentler nation was mocked by many 30 years ago. It still sounds strange today in our society that is so often mean, cruel and violent and going the opposite direction of kinder and gentler. Kindness and gentleness is too often looked down upon instead of being valued and encouraged.
The vision of a multitude of humble servants shining like a thousand points of light was a confusing concept to some 30 years ago. Recently it was described again as not making sense. Kindness, gentleness and humble, sacrificial service doesn’t make sense to the world. The world understands putting yourself first; looking out for your own interests and not the interests of others. The world understands promoting yourself and boasting about what you have done. The world understands being assertive and going for what you want, even if it means knocking others down to get it.
Gentleness and kindness seem strange to the world. Meekness appears to be weakness. It is that way now and was also that way in Jesus’ day. At first His own brothers didn’t understand His humble service and why He would do great deeds but not want to draw attention to Himself. “Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world” (John 7:4). Letting people know how great you are – that makes sense to the world. But that’s not Jesus’ way.
Pilate couldn’t understand Jesus failing to fight back and defend Himself when He was attacked. “‘Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.’ But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed” (Mark 15:4-5). The world’s way is stand up for yourself and return insult for insult. If somebody posts something that appears to be an attack and a slam, you better slam them back. That’s what the world thinks. Jesus’ way of silence and meekly letting them nail Him to the cross amazes and confuses people. But it brings salvation and hope to those who trust Him.
First Timothy 6:11 says to “pursue … gentleness.” Are you pursuing gentleness or running from it? We can pursue gentleness because we are chosen and loved by God. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).The world doesn’t think so, but the meek are the ones who are going to come out ahead. “I will remove from you your arrogant boasters. … But I will leave within you the meek and humble” (Zephaniah 3:11-12). Arrogant boasters can intimidate at times and deceive people into thinking they are far more impressive and important than they really are. The arrogant boasters of this world are not to be feared for they have no future. It is the meek and the humble who trust in the Lord who will win in the end. They are the ones who can look forward to a victorious and glorious future.