She Did What She Could

Mark 14:8 “She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.”

I’ve recently been re-reading Charles Sheldon’s classic, In His Steps. He describes one incident where two sisters are getting into their carriage when the younger one notices a shabbily dressed little boy, shivering in the cold. Before getting into her carriage, she unpins the bouquet of violets she’s wearing and gives them to the child. He takes them, buries his nose in their fragrance, and with a big smile, thanks her. Her sister chides her, saying what he really needs is a hot meal, not a bunch of flowers. But violets were all she had to offer, so that’s what she gave. She did what she could.

I wonder how many times we stifle the instinct to give simply because it won’t meet the larger need. But what if God isn’t calling us to meet the whole need? What if he’s calling us to simply do what we can with our limited resources? Jesus always received acts done in kindness, whether large or small.

Once when he was at a dinner with his disciples, a woman came and poured an alabaster jar of perfume on his head. It was expensive, and some of those present rebuked her, saying she should have used the money from the perfume to help the poor. Rather than agreeing with their indignation at her extravagant gift, Jesus praised her. Although unknown to her, and beyond the imagination of the disciples, she was using what she had to prepare Jesus for his upcoming burial. He lauded her, proclaiming her act of kindness would be remembered wherever the gospel was preached. Jesus said, “she did what she could.” Such was the impact of Mary of Bethany.

Whether offering a small bouquet of flowers or perfume worth a “year’s wages,” the Lord wants us to be an active part of his plan. I can’t meet all the needs of a refugee family, but I know the father likes watermelon, so I can take him a watermelon when I visit. I may not have all the answers for my grief-stricken friend, but I can give her my ear. I would rather have “she did what she could” written on my tombstone than “she kept what she had.”

How about you? Don’t miss your opportunities.

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