Meak Isn't Weak

by Mark Hart

Picture a man in front of his house. He’s not working on a car or using power tools. No, the man is planting flowers. He’s on his knees, covered in soil, digging old dirt out of the pot, and gently trying to place fragile new flowers within it.

It’s a pretty “manly” sight, huh?

The pre-teen kids riding by on their bikes didn’t seem to think so. They openly laughed at the sight of a man doing such a seemingly “feminine” act. One boy mocked the guy’s lack of “manliness.” The other boy made a comment about how the man was obviously “whipped” to be doing “his wife’s job.” In their immaturity, the two boys made a critical error in their observation of the situation – they mistook “meekness” for weakness.

Weakness is a lack of strength, interior or exterior, while “meekness” means gentleness. Meekness is the ability to channel one’s strength in gentle and often quiet ways.

Little did they know that the man was caring for his pregnant wife, who was confined to her bed for almost five months. The belligerent bike riders had no concept of the 18-hour days the man was working, the countless hours his wife went stir crazy stuck in bed trying to protect the fragile baby in her womb while her muscles atrophied and her sanity was tested. The sarcastic boys had no concept of what a heroic sacrifice the wife made or how hard the husband tried to ease her pain… even if it meant learning to plant flowers so that she, unable to leave her bed, would have something nice to look at when she peered out her window.

It was in his meekness that this husband tried to serve not only his wife, but his God. Unable to take away his wife’s pain and discomfort, the husband sought to serve her, hoping to bring a brief relief from her discomfort. Living every day under the stress and worry that the growing baby might not make it, the woman needed hope. The woman needed her man – her husband - in a way he wasn’t prepared for… and the husband responded.

Now, ask yourself these questions:

Does knowing the "why" of the story - why the husband was planting flowers - make the act of service less "weak" and more meek?

Does the world celebrate the small actions or only the large ones?

Which does heaven celebrate more, the large acts or the small ones?

Now, think back to another garden… the very first garden. The Bible tells us that Adam is placed in the Garden of Eden “to till and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). The author was not implying that Adam was some divinely appointed “landscaper.” Rather, the Hebrew word used in this verse was shamar, which is a command “to guard” the Garden and all within it, which would eventually include the woman.

The command, though, implied an impending evil (Genesis 3). The command revealed something woven into his (and your) vocation as a man: the role as “guardian” and “protector.” From the very beginning, God was trying to teach Adam, and by extension all men, that we are called to protect and serve creation, most especially women. It’s when a man fails to protect the woman – literally and figuratively – from any and all threats, or fails to serve the woman before himself, that he is failing to fulfill his role as a man.

How about you?

As you face your teenage years and advance toward young adulthood, you need to stop and consider these questions: “Why did God make me a man?” and “What is His plan for me, personally?”

God made you a man, yes… but the type of man you turn out to be is entirely up to you. Are you going to be a true man – heroic and courageous and self-controlled – or are you going to live like a little boy during your adult years – immature, reactive, and self-involved?

One of the reasons the modern world is in such bad shape is because of an identity crisis. People don’t know who they are, and many don’t stop to consider who God designed them to be. Many men are failing to live like true men; many never really grow up – and when men act like boys, the world is in trouble.

God gave you strength, yes… but how you use that strength says a lot about the kind of man you are. Will you use your strength and manhood to protect others, especially women, or to promote yourself?

St. Francis de Sales said, “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”

God is calling you to something amazing – to live a truly heroic life, a life for others. Will you accept this call? Will you become the true man that God has designed you to be? Will you seek ways to be meek, to show your strength through gentleness when appropriate and through defense when necessary?

In case you were wondering, after a grueling period of bed rest, the wife gave birth to a healthy baby girl, whose middle name is Therese after St. Therese, the Little Flower. Her husband still plants flowers for her every spring as an act of service… and I’m unashamed that I do. My woman is worth it – and I hope that one day my little girl will seek a man who is strong yet gentle enough to do the same.

Mark Hart, affectionately known as the Bible Geek, is an award-winning author and sought after speaker. He has a passion for youth evangelization and serves as the Executive Vice President of Life Teen International. Learn more at


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