Jesus said: “She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.” Mark 14:8-9
Jesus said this after a woman had anointed him in Bethany. It was clearly an amazing moment. It was quite usual for a house guest to be greeted by being given a few drops of perfume. What was extraordinary about this particular incident is that the woman deliberately broke open the whole perfume bottle. The onlookers immediately responded to the apparent waste of money. The perfume was made from nard, which came from far away and was, therefore, extremely expensive. It was suggested that it would have been the equivalent to one year’s wages.
Jesus vigorously defended the woman’s actions. The people who suggested that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor weren’t wrong. That could have been done. But it would have missed the point. This woman was preparing Jesus’ body for burial, and nothing could be more important than that. Jesus’ death on the cross was going to bring salvation to the world, so her action was of the first importance.
I am particularly struck by the fact that Jesus commended the woman for doing what she could. And that’s the challenge that we all face. God may not call us to lead countries or armies, or change history through great social reforms. But he does call us to do what we can. Perhaps he is calling us to encourage the elderly people next door, or write a note of encouragement to a colleague, or pay a debt on behalf of a family member. Our action may hardly be noticed but that’s not the point. We will have done what we could.
In his letters, the apostle Paul constantly encouraged his readers to keep doing God’s will. He knew that life was full of challenges and distractions but he commanded them: “Be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
What will you be able to do for God today?
Loving Father, thank you for the opportunity of serving you today. Amen