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

Matthew 5:5

By Alan Gibson

Most basketball fans probably remember Charles Barkley for his intense, aggressive style of play as an undersized forward in the NBA. His ability, tenacity and competitive nature led to numerous accolades and culminated in being selected to the NBA Hall of Fame.

Most country music fans are familiar with the smooth and easy style of Tim McGraw, whose music has been recognized for three Grammy awards, 14 ACM awards and 11 CMA awards. The lyrics to his songs resonate with people from all ages and demographics.

As different as Charles Barkley and Tim McGraw appear to be, so are their views regarding today’s scripture. Known also for being outspoken, Barkley’s interpretations of many topics are sometimes humorous, sometimes controversial, and almost always thought-provoking. His twist on today’s verse goes something like this: “The meek may inherit the earth, but they’ll never get the ball…”

Like many others, Barkley’s connotation of the word meek translates to “weak.” But God’s definition of meek doesn’t encourage us to be weak. The meekness Jesus displayed was free of aggression, intimidation, selfishness, anger and arrogance. At the same time, meekness doesn’t tell us to shy away from saying or doing what is right. It doesn’t want us to subject ourselves to misery. And it doesn’t give permission for others to take advantage of us.

A closer look at several Bible translations – and more importantly the life of Jesus – indicates that meek is more closely related to the words “Humble and Kind,” which also happens to be the title of McGraw’s 2016 hit that won Country Music Song of the Year. Throughout the song, the lyrics exhibit several ways to be both humble and kind, but none are more telling than the way the song ends, with what we can envision as God’s example of meekness:

Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re going don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind

So, while we may never get the ball in Barkley’s definition of being meek, we can confidently know that the meekness McGraw promotes and God desires will help lead us to an everlasting Hall of Fame.