Meek is not weak
June 7, 2006
I've never much liked the word "meek." The KJV uses it to describe Moses, but it sounds too much like "weak" to me.
Mary Karr's analogy helps get me unstuck from my preconditioned refusal to embrace the word. For Moses does not at all appear to be weak. Given he was managing twelve rough tribes, weakness was not what he needed to overcome the centrifugal force of their own collective egos, bad attitudes and flagrant self-righteousness.
He had to be tough.
Leaders now and then have no choice but to bite down on the bit and move forward. For some, it may suit your personality. Even so, whether it does or not, there are times tough choices must be made and often that falls to the leader.
I don't want to fall into the trap of generalizing us all into the same personality type nor simplifying this metaphor beyond utility, but here I think is the point.
Being strong does not imply that we live only for ourselves. I serve under authority. When authority pulls on the reins, whispers or even shouts "whoa," meekness means that authority overrides my determination to keep moving on, be that authority God, my board, my supervisor. I may shake my mane, flare my nostrils, but obey I will.
Holder of the Reins, in times when I think mine is the only way, may the internal discipline of my heart and the external discipline of my work build an ability to respond to those authorities you have put in my life. May meekness be a hallmark of how I lead. Amen.
In the Atlantic Monthly, Mary Karr relates that her friend, a Franciscan nun, says that to grasp the meaning of meek, we should "picture a great stallion at full gallop . . . At its master's voice—[he] seizes up to a stunned but instant halt."