Day Twenty-Five – Small Can Be Beautiful

Posted on: April 10th, 2011 by Kay Swatkowski

“Meekness is the most untranslatable of words.”

William Barclay

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

- Romans 12:2-3

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”

Matthew 5:5

Meekness.  What a difficult concept to understand.

The New Testament word for meekness is challenging to translate into English. American culture’s view of meekness varies from gentleness and kindness to weakness and passivity.

Is it any wonder we are confused?

There is one aspect of meekness we can all agree upon.   The quality of meekness that Jesus has called us to cultivate certainly includes humility.

In his book, Beatitudes For Today, James C. Howell suggests that living out meekness requires that we work on a realistic and Biblical view of ourselves.

He quotes from Ralph Woods who suggests that Tolkein’s famous characaters, the hobbits, embody gentleness and meekness.   Woods believes that Tolkein made his characters small in stature to challenge our “obsession with largeness.”

The hobbits not only were small in size, but also had no ambition for greatness.  Woods reminds us that these were the little people of the Shire who, on their own birthdays, gave gifts to others.  These hobbits were remarkably  devoid of the ambition for power and control  and enjoyed the love and affection, loyalty and faithfulness of their fellow hobbits. Their faithfulness and strong aversion to ambition made them central figures in bringing the end to evil in Middle Earth.

“For the hobbits, bigger does not mean better, and small can indeed be beautiful.” (Ralph Wood, The Gospel According to Tolkein)

An obsession with and drive for  greatness,  power or control is the antithesis of meekness.

Humility in our relationship with God, looking out for the interests of others, serving with no thought for recognition, being teachable, quietly trusting God for the outcome of even difficult situations will not get us ahead in this world.

Surrendering  our obsession  or ambition for “largeness” and replacing it with meekness, gentleness,  humility and trust will bring us blessings of another kind.

As we pray that this Beatitude will become a reality in our grandchildren’s lives, let’s pray that

  • Our grandchildren will have a humble and trusting attitude towards their Heavenly Father
  • Our grandchildren will not view themselves more highly than they ought
  • Our grandchildren will not have the false humility that comes from a low self-concept
  • Our grandchildren will understand meekness, not as weakness, but as a strength
  • Our grandchildren will not be driven to greatness to fulfill their emotional needs
  • Our grandchildren will see the beauty in serving in small ways

Heavenly Father,

We thank you for the meek example of Jesus who humbly gave Himself for us. We pray that You would help us better understand meekness and give us the Grace to develop this quality in our lives.

May our children see themselves as You see them.  May they see other people as the precious creations that they are.

We pray that our grandchildren will resist the temptation to pursue power and greatness at the expense of their relationship with You.  May they be driven to humbly serve and love You all the days of their lives.


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2 Responses

  1. Cindi says:

    I think it is very pertinent and helpful for young mothers to know how to pray for their children. So WHEN you do publish, I hope you find a way to make it work for those who may not know how to specifically ask for God’s help. It would be a wonderful gift!

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