UFFERING FROM BRAIN BLOCK MERE DAYS FROM MY DEADLINE, I SOLICITED article ideas from my contacts in cyberspace. It was my cousin Matilda from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who got my thoughts moving in the direction of thinking about whether meekness means weakness.
So does it? What defines true strength—of mind or character? Do overt displays of our power, our intelligence, and our skills make us appear strong? Or is true strength found in our ability to resist “tooting our own horns” and going about our business caring only that God knows what we’ve done and being satisfied with that? Are we weak for zipping our lips and downplaying our accomplishments?
Here’s a story. There were two people committed to the same project. Both possessed a plethora of skills, credentials, and a long history of achievement in their chosen fields. Thrown together for an important endeavor, they complemented each other’s respective skill sets in many ways. It seemed as if they were a great team, and in several ways, they really were.
But on closer examination, these two people carried themselves in very different ways. While both were highly positive about the tasks at hand, one went through the day with one goal in mind, though said goal was never publicly announced. But the way in which that one carried on spoke volumes about their true mission. In whatever task that person was responsible for, the focus was on glorifying God, and that was abundantly evident. As important as that person was, as well-credentialed and respected as that person was, it was the humility of that individual that shone brightly.
You probably know where I’m going with the other character. So humor me as ?I tell you the tale anyway. This second person was sharp, hardworking, and very knowledgeable. But there were airs about this individual. Given any opportunity to make mention of past successes and previous accolades, the person would readily take it.
Both persons accomplished what they set out to do on the project with great success. But one clearly became endeared to others who were quietly observing. But that was of no consequence to this person. This individual delivered what was promised at the same high level of skill and integrity as if no one noticed or cared. But people did notice and care, and the deep respect they cultivated for this person was palpable.
The other person was also a great success. But that was about it. This individual “tooted his own horn,” but in the end, the sound of his own voice didn’t carry very far.
“The meek shall inherit the earth,” the Lord says (see Matt. 5:5).
Isn’t it so obvious why?
Wilona Karimabadi is marketing and editorial director for KidsView, Adventist Review’s magazine for kids. (Published October 8, 2009)