Meekness means recognizing that ‘you are weak but God is not,’ Platt says

The week before David Platt flew into Birmingham for the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors Conference was a “sanctifying” week,” he said.

On June 2 he had stepped off stage after the Lord’s Supper at his church and been told President Donald Trump was stopping by and wanted the church to pray with Him.

A thousand thoughts entered Platt’s head of how he could respond, but “the one that rose to the top” was 1 Timothy 2:1–2 — Paul’s charge to pray for all who are in high positions.

“In that brief minute I prayed specifically for an opportunity to speak the gospel to him and faithfulness to pray the gospel over him,” said Platt, pastor of the Washington, D.C.-area McLean Bible Church and former pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham.

He spoke with the president backstage, then after Platt prayed for him on stage Trump left without making any comments. The moment was over but for Platt the conflict was just beginning.

‘Social media firestorm’

“As a result of that prayer and that letter (of explanation) on Sunday night I would find myself at the center of a social media firestorm,” he said. “Why do I share this? I am guessing I’m not the only pastor in this room who is coming into the conference after a hard week.”

“For some it’s been a hard month or many months,” he said. “I’m guessing for some of you it’s been a hard year. If I could I just want to encourage you … with what God has been teaching me about this beatitude.”

For his message Platt was tasked with preaching from Matthew 5:5 — “blessed are the meek.” He offered three pictures of meekness:

1. Meekness calmly and joyfully trusts in the justice of God.

Reading from Psalm 37, Platt gave some Old Testament perspective on meekness. The psalmist was surrounded by turmoil and injustice but still he delighted in the Lord.

How? By fixing his eyes on the Judge, Platt said. “This is the kind of meekness that will not come if your eyes are fixed on the world.”

There’s clearly a lot to fret about in this psalm but the psalmist calmly trusts God. Sometimes pastors have a lot to fret about too, Platt said — situations like a divided deacon board or leadership team, betrayal by someone they trusted, a barrage of trials, disgruntled church members, false accusations or a complex situation they can’t seem to fix.

“So what do we do when we face this? We feel so helpless,” Platt said.

Meekness means recognizing that “you are weak but God is not, and God is on your side,” he said.

“This psalm reminds me that God is my judge. You are not my judge, no one on social media is my judge, the president of the United States is not my judge. Jesus is my judge and I am so glad He is. Aren’t you?”

2. Meekness humbly listens and selflessly lives for the good of others.

From there Platt moved on to the New Testament and read from James 1, which urges Christians to be “quick to hear” and to “receive with meekness the implanted Word which is able to save your souls.”

It can be hard to know how to work that out in the face of conflict, he said. With his own church on June 2 the question up for debate wasn’t whether or not to pray for the President — the question was whether or not to bring him on stage and do it publicly in front of a lot of cameras, Platt said.

‘Different convictions’

He said he knew some Christians would feel that showing honor to the nation’s elected leader by praying for him publicly would be good for the sake of the gospel. He knew others would feel that it would make a holy moment into a public spectacle that could be twisted and abused — something they felt would be bad for the gospel.

Both believed what they believed for the sake of the gospel, Platt said.

“It’s possible for followers of Jesus who love the Word to have different convictions here,” he said. “One says do, another don’t — for the advance of the gospel.”

In these cases Christians should be quick to listen, slow to tweet and slow to post, Platt said.

“I trust we realize we live in a culture that entices us every moment to speak our thoughts from behind a screen and not look our brother or sister in the eye and listen to them,” he said. “If you don’t ever have conversations with Christians who have different views from you meekness may mean expanding your listening to people who aren’t just like you.”

Meekness like this is other worldly, Platt said — it comes from above.

“I just wonder if we grew in this attribute how … Christ might look to a watching world around us,” he said.

3. Meekness endures challenges in this world with confident hope in the world to come.

The last picture of meekness is one of a person who looks forward to heaven with a confidence, knowing that is where trial and turmoil in ministry will end, Platt said.

‘Our hope’

“This is the gospel and it is our hope — Jesus, our meek King, has humbly and selflessly given His life on the cross for our good,” he said. “The meek have hope that a day is coming when challenges will be no more.” (Grace Thornton)


To watch the full video of Platt’s talk, visit