Do you ever wonder if doing your best is doing enough? Do you struggle with the feeling that your actions are big enough to count? Sometimes I do, too.
Here’s the truth, though. Our purpose matters. Regardless of what they look like on the outside, our actions have big significance.
Remember the story in the gospels of Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus with an expensive bottle of nard? We read about it a couple weeks ago – right before Easter. (You can click here to read it!)
I’ve read that story a gazillion times and heard it even more, AND taught it with a variety of lessons in mind. But one thing I never considered before was that line, right there:
She did what she could when she could—she pre-anointed my body for burial. And you can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she just did is going to be talked about admiringly. Matthew 14:8-9, MSG
(Photo and beautiful artwork cred: Tammy Mill 2016)
In other words, “Leave her alone. She did what she could in this moment out of love and compassion. And it’s a big enough deal to me that I’ll make sure she’s remembered because of it.”
I get choked up because I think Jesus is speaking to each of us through this passage. He chose a girl, an ordinary sister friend, just like you and me, to be remembered throughout eternity because she did the one thing she could do in the moment.
She took what she already had on hand (scholars are quick to point this out because the cost of that nard would’ve been equal to about a year’s wages for the average MAN in those days and there was no way she had that money) and offered it to Jesus as a willing gift of devotion to the man she knew to be her savior, OUR savior.
Mary of Bethany did what she could. She gave from the treasure trove of gifts she had been given. She acted with what she had. She acted where she was. She acted when she felt moved to do so. She acted without being asked or invited.
Think about that.
She wasn’t asked to do it. I mean, strictly speaking, Jesus never said, “Hey Mare! Can you do something really cool and over the top for me right now? You know, something I can hold up as an example for my followers for years to come?” Nothing like that is recorded as happening.
Mary felt the call of the Holy Spirit, the need to do something only she could do, out of her love of someone, in this case Jesus, and so she did.
Today I want to challenge each of us to tune our ear to that still small voice that must have called to Mary that day. The one that says, “You know, I think you could be of some help here. You can do something that may sound or feel a little weird at first, but could really be important.”
Like, when someone keeps popping into your head that you get the feeling could use your time or a phone call today. Or when you sense someone needs a meal or just a big, fat Portillo’s chocolate cake dropped off on her porch. Or when your wallet has the rare time of being a little heavier than normal and the food pantry flyer just ended up in your mailbox. Or when you child says to you, “can you just sit on the edge of my bed for just a little longer?” Or even just the hungry look of your coworker who forgot their lunch compels you to share the last few bites of your favorite sandwich.
Little things matter. Little things have lasting consequences. Little things become big things and become the miracles that change lives.
Miracles. They start with an offering.
So, whatever “it” is today, do it. Whatever “it” is tomorrow, then do it, too.
Whatever it is, it is your purpose. Big or small. Visible to many or only to one. It doesn’t matter who knows, who sees, or who cares. What does matter is that you do what you can, when and where you can do it, with what you have been given. Just like Mary. You give what you have as an offering and let God do the rest. Because even if no one else notices, even if no one else seems to care? Yeah. Well GOD cares.
As we’ve learned together this session, we have ample opportunity to strengthen our purpose muscle. Through worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and yes – even evangelizing. Our gifts and talents can weave and soak right through even the most difficult of places because we CAN do all things through Christ who strengthen us. Thank you for walking it out with us this season. Our ministry team and I continue to keep you in our prayers as we break for summer.
AND SPEAKING OF SUMMER…! Get excited because we have another super fun, super laid back summer series in store for you! Stayed tune because all will be revealed in a few weeks! 😉 In the meantime, here’s little sneaky peek into our logo:
it all wide open for you RIGHT here on Thursday, May 19th! 😉 Stay tuned, sister friends!
Peace, love, and JOY!