DID YOU KNOW that the Shire is the largest of all horse breeds? The stallions stand 6 feet tall at the base of the neck and it's over 8 feet to the tip of their ears! They weigh well over a ton, and a Shire foal weighs an average of 125 pounds at birth. The Shire descended from the great English Warhorse that carried the knights of Britain into battle. It has been estimated that the horse carried a weight of nearly 500 pounds. In the early 19th century an ordinary Shire pulled 36 tons a distance of 6 miles along the Surrey Iron Railway in England. On Sunday Feb. 26, 1893, in Ewen, Maine, over 125 tons of pine logs were hauled on ice-covered roads for 1/4-mile by two Shires. The load consisted of 50 logs of white pine, over 36,055 board feet of lumber, and was loaded by tiers. Each tier, with exception of the single log on top, was bound by ½ inch steel test chain, some 850 feet in all, weighing itself some 2,000 lbs. The finished load measured 30'3'' high, 18' wide and 18' long. And when combined with the weight of the sleigh and chain, the total weight reached 140 tons! Later that year, the load was sent to Chicago where it was reassembled at the World's Fair. To transport it required the use of nine railroad cars. However, for all its tremendous size and power, the Shire has the gentlest of temperaments and sweetest of disposition. I’m telling you this, because the Shire is an excellent illustration of meekness.
Today, when we talk about meekness, we tend to associate it with being weak, faint-hearted, wimpy, spineless, even a coward. We might picture a meek person as a nerd with thick coke glasses, his pants pulled up to his arm pits, his hair uncombed, and a pocket full of pens and pencils. We all know that in this world the meek get sand kicked in their face or beat to the ground by the bullies. Our society says, “assert yourself, justify your ways, defend you rights, serve your own ends.” The so-called winners in this world are the aggressive, the pushers, the arrogant, and the one who takes control. However, that is not the Biblical picture of meekness at all. The Greeks use the word “meek” to mean mild or soft; and has been translated as gentle many times. The term was sometimes used to describe a soothing medicine or a soft breeze. Some Greeks describes winds as meek in contrast to hurricanes or winds out of control. Aristotle used the word for the middle- it was the point between extreme anger and extreme angerlessness. It was also used of colts and other animals whose naturally wild spirits were broken by a trainer so that they could do useful work. Meek has the concept of power under control and balance. Therefore, the Shire horses are an excellent example of meekness; they are strong and powerful, but have a disposition that is gentle and under control.
Jesus says, "Blessed are the meek," (not weak or timid or feeble), "for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt 5:5). The men and women who have their power under control are a blessing to a society that is un-disciplined. Today, more and more people are losing control: bosses exploding at their employees, husband yelling at their wives, big kids pushing around smaller kids, and parents using their size and strength to abuse their children. Through out history, nations such as Assyria, Babylonia, Rome, Germany, and even Russia have seemed invincible, and if we judged them on a given day, we might believe it. But if we examine them not by day to day but by the years, we discover that the arrogant and the powerful do not inherit the earth. They do not even win in personal relationships. No one wants a rude and self-seeking friend. In this unbridled world it is refreshing to find a man or woman who has the power over someone else, but refrains for the sake of Jesus Christ.
I Tim. 6:11 tells us that a man of God pursues righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and meekness. Titus 3:2 charges all Christians to show "meekness toward all men." May we as believers in Jesus Christ demonstrate meekness demonstrating power under control and refraining from using our power and resources to get our own way. Instead, may we be a blessing to others as we exemplify a Christlike life.
-Pastor Mike Kotrla