There were over a thousand people at my mom’s funeral.
I know that’s cutting right into the topic at hand with little anecdotal pieces, but I need to start there to set a tone for where we’re going.
There won’t be a thousand people at my funeral. I don’t even know that many people and besides my mom always made it clear that my brother was “the charming one”, but that’s how many people packed into the church the night of my mom’s visitation and funeral.
What would cause that many people to pack into a sanctuary on a Thursday night in September?
It couldn’t be for any reason the world would take note of.
If you didn’t know her well, allow me to introduce her to you.
An Unremarkable Life
My mom was raised in the sprawling metropolis of Greenfield, Missouri. Three of you reading this have heard of it. She tried out for the cheer squad all four years of high school and only achieved the rank of “mascot.” One time she won homecoming queen, but she kept the crown in a little box and pulled it out for lectures she gave at church for what the race of popularity will win you versus what the race of Christianity promises- one crown that will just sit in a box useless and another that rust and moth cannot destroy. She was married to the same man for almost 34 years. Gardening was a favorite pastime. Are you bored yet?
She was a vet technician and often came home with “evidence” on her scrubs. She never left the country. She never wrote a book. She never had an instagram account. She was never a sought-after speaker. She never held political office. By all accounts, we call this resume unremarkable.
Her house was a barn *well* before it was cool to live in one.
She drove a giant grey van exactly like the van at church only ours didn’t say the name of the church on the side. So, in that respect she was easy to find driving around town. To his absolute credit, my father tried multiple times to get my mom to sell that old, giant grey van. She refused and would quickly say, “it keeps me humble.”
I think we’re getting closer to why so many would come to mourn on a Thursday night in September.
Happiness is for the Humble
In Matthew 5:3, Jesus is giving what we call the Beatitudes and says, “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
John MacArthur in his commentary on this verse and the following says, “Happiness is for the humble. Until we are poor in spirit, Christ is never precious to us. Because we can’t see him for the looking at ourselves. Before we see our own wants and our own needs and our own desperation, we never see the matchless worth of Christ. Until we know how really damned we are, we can’t appreciate how really glorious he is. Until we comprehend how doomed we are, we can’t understand how wondrous is his love to redeem us. Until we see our poverty, we cannot understand his riches.”
Evangelicalism has never been short on titles daring us to live our best, radical, washed-face life. When we drink deep of the pitfalls of this thinking the value of a quiet, humble life is easy to eclipse.
My mom was very boring and unremarkable to the standards the world holds dear.
What made her remarkable and dynamic to be around was that she treasured Christ. In Him she found what MacArthur noted above – she knew her great need for a Savior. She trusted in His great love to save her and keep her and THIS is why people were drawn to my dynamic mother.
She was incredibly happy.
She was incredibly happy because she was incredibly humbled. She was incredibly happy because she rested in the lavishing love of Christ and it was that joy that was woven into every fiber of her being.
Quiet and Humble Continue to Speak
The comparison game, humble brags and instagram filters will all tell us that quiet, humble lives bear no influence, waste our life and leave no significant mark.
A daughter who stood at the front of the church to greet a thousand mourners on a Thursday night in September will tell you different.