The apostle Paul designates those who have entered upon the Christian life as "the elect of God, holy and beloved," and admonishes all such to "put on" certain distinguishing characteristics, which he specifically enumerates as "mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering." While all of these graces are of the highest value, we are particularly advised that "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit . . . is in the sight of God of great price," and the distinctive promise is made, "The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way." The young minister, starting forth on his career, has set before him the goal of meekness toward which he is ever to strive, for Paul in writing to Timothy states: "But thou, O man of God,... follow after . . . meekness."
It is often the case that the counterfeit of meekness is mistaken for the genuine. The ornament of true meekness makes the possessor strong, positive, clear, aggressive, efficient, successful. It enables the man of God to make full proof of his ministry. The counterfeit causes the possessor to be in a state of indecision, inefficiency, and lacking in leadership. The one man who has been designated by Inspiration as "very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth" (Num. 12:3), was the greatest organizer, leader, and educator the world has ever known, and that man was Moses. The apostle Paul, with true meekness and humility of heart, felt himself to be "the least of all saints," yet Paul stands out in the New Testament record as the greatest pioneer missionary, the greatest leader, the greatest apostle.
The definition of meekness, as cited in Cruden's Concordance, is this: "(1) A temper of mind that is not easily provoked, and suffers injuries without desire of revenge, and quietly submits to the will of God. (2) A humble, submissive frame of spirit, ready to receive and entertain the truths of God." The human heart cannot produce true meekness, for it is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and can appear only as the Holy Spirit has control of the life. In genuine meekness there is no boasting, no selfish ambition. Not so with the counterfeit. The external of the counterfeit may appear genuine, but the luster of its inner texture is of a different shade, and will not stand the crucial test. The situation in many lives is described as follows:
"How many are lost by their efforts to keep up a name? If one has the reputation of being a successful evangelist, a gifted preacher, a man of prayer, a man of faith, a man of special devotion, there is positive danger that he will make shipwreck of faith when tried by the little tests that God suffers to come. Often his great effort will be to maintain his reputation. He who lives in fear that others do not appreciate his value is losing sight of Him who alone makes us worthy of glorifying God. . . . All the work done, however excellent it may appear to be, is worthless if not done in the love of Jesus. One may go through the whole round of religious activity, and yet, unless Christ is woven into all that he says and does, he will work for his own glory."—Mrs. E. G. White, in a communication to Dr. D. H. Kress, dated April 1, 1903.
Seek righteousness, brethren, seek meekness. Then shall our ministry be blessed, strengthened, enlarged. Then shall the church be helped more abundantly. Then shall souls be born of the Spirit under our ministry. "Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought His judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger."
Takoma Park, D. C.