On October 21, 2010, my Mother, Carolyn Mansel, passed away days after the discovery of cancer. The dizzying week left us stunned and heartbroken. She was an extraordinary woman who touched countless lives.
Large crowds at the visitation and the funeral were a tribute to her godly life. The outpouring of sympathy for her loss affected us deeply. Mother walked with Christ and exhibited three key qualities that all Christians should posses. She was a selfless servant who had a smile for everyone.
In Mother’s life, nothing was ever about her. She endured hardships to take care of others. She was the type Mom who claimed she was never hungry when her children needed food. She always put others before herself.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3, NKJV).
A true selfless person will always look out for the needs of others before themselves. They will truly be servants that “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2).
A selfless person will always be a servant that keeps the big picture before them. They look at situations with their Christianity in mind. If they can help others, they will do all they can to accomplish that goal.
Mother spent her life taking care of others in the family. It was her mission and the backdrop of her existence. It provides a tapestry for the rest of us to follow (2 Thessalonians 3:9).
Jesus taught us to serve others (John 13:3-10). We conduct ourselves as Dorcas, so that when we are gone, people remember the ways we helped them and edified their lives (Acts 9:36-42).
Mom was a leader in her family and in her eighteen years at Walmart. It is a misconception that a servant allows others to step on them as they wait for people to help. God’s people are servants, but they stand strong and confident in Christ.
Mother strengthened her brethren with cards, calls and encouragement. A selfless servant looks for opportunities to lift someone’s spirits. They are attuned to the people around them and they go places that others do not and lives are changed.
As mourners passed through the funeral home, most of them had warm memories of Mother’s smile. She took it everywhere she went and touched people’s hearts.
A joyous Christian has smiles for everyone they meet. Mother dealt with pain for much of her life, but she maintained her happy demeanor. Her positive spirit persisted even to the end. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2).
This counterintuitive thought is the heart of a servant. We do not think of ourselves because we see the bigger picture. We put Christ’s mission as our primary path in life (2 Timothy 3:12).
If we understand the palpable joy of Christ, it will come through all that we do (1 Peter 4:13). We will have a smile because our lives stand on salvation, hope and peace.
Mother will be missed, but her godly example will walk with us the remainder of our days. For that, we are joyous.