“But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.” Psalm 37:11
Several feet removed from the large prominent family cemetery plot where my parents and grandparents are buried lies a small obscure grave marker with grass creeping up around its edges so that it is hardly visible. Inscribed on the tiny stone is the name of my great aunt May Wilson, my grandfather’s sister who was known to us nephews and nieces simply as Auntie. The fact that her final resting place is positioned sort of “off to the side” is no great surprise as it is symbolic of the way she lived her life.
Auntie was no stranger to us growing up, always present at family gatherings, yet quiet and unassuming, usually positioning herself in a solitary place sort of “off to the side” from everyone else, rarely having much to say. Meek though she was, however, Auntie’s life was anything but unaccomplished. She was in fact well educated, and for some fifty years taught school, eventually rising to the level of school principle.
Meek, unfortunately, is not a word that plays well in our culture today, maybe because it suffers the misfortune of rhyming with weak, causing us to mistakenly believe the two words to be synonymous. Not so. In fact, to be meek, which is defined as having patience, humility and forbearance, requires tremendous strength and courage. But we don’t recognize it that way because we tend to worship such attributes as boldness, success, and visibility – preferring winning athletes and teams, bestselling books, box office smashes, and high-profile politicians and entertainers over meekness.
Some people fly high in life – prominent, visible, and notable for their persona – while others fly beneath the radar, barely visible, their accomplishments and persona virtually unnoticed. Auntie was like that. I know nothing about the people she may have touched and influenced during her lifetime. Perhaps even those she touched and influenced didn’t realize it either, that it had come from her quiet, humble demeaner.
It has been said that “the person who does good for God’s glory seeks neither praise nor reward but is sure of both in the end.” “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace,” the Psalmist says. Or as Jesus rephrased it, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” I think Auntie must have known that.