More than by Default
Along with misperceptions associated with meekness is a rather fatalistic interpretation of Jesus’ promised reward, “the meek will inherit the earth.” How can this be?
There is a popular notion the earth will be inherited by those who merely stay out of the fray. One only needs to observe history to understand this principle. Civilizations come and go, and the winds of war continue to blow over the same parcels of land. In time, students of history unearth the past and display artifacts in museums where children come to learn nothing man-made lasts forever. It can be assumed, therefore, one way believers might inherit the earth is to hide under a rock while the rest of society self-destructs, then emerge to claim what remains.
Nature teaches us a similar lesson. I am not a meticulous lawn-keeper, but I do take pride in my property. Every year I haul in dirt, plant seed and fertilize. I cut and trim my grass in a timely manner and manicure other plants in my yard so they appear orderly to the eye. But for all of my hard work, I am aware the results are only temporary. If left unchecked everything I have attempted to maintain over a period of eighteen years would quickly be undermined by weeds, bugs and drought.
So is this what Jesus means? If we just hang on long enough and make sure we aren’t in the wrong place at the wrong time, will the earth be handed to us on a silver platter? This scenario seems very plausible to anyone in my generation who saw the first run of “Planet of the Apes” during the cold war era. Who can forget the final scene where Charlton Heston grieves over the insanity of the human race in the shadow of the ruins of the Statue of Liberty?
I am not refuting the fact that a literal doomsday would leave many of the disenfranchised cultures (probably not apes) of the earth to pick up the pieces. Still, this is not the kind or means of inheritance Jesus has promised to the meek.