One of my favorite accounts in the gospels is in Mark 14 when Jesus is at Simon the leper’s house (v. 3-9). While there, Mary the sister of Lazarus and Martha, took a flask of very costly oil and anointed Jesus’ head with it (John 12:1-7). Some there, apparently led by Judas, were vey upset at the waste of the oil. But Jesus defended her noble actions, saying that she had done a good work for Him in that she was anointing His body for burial. He also said that wherever the gospel is preached, what she had done will be told as a memorial to her, obviously it has been time and time again over the ages.
But the words that stick most in my mind concerning the actions of Mary are when our Savior said, “She has done what she could” (Mark 13:8). In those six short words, volumes are said about the attitude of Mary in serving and honoring the Christ. In fact, it is interesting to note that what she didn’t do says just as much as what she did do. Notice for example:
She did not wait to be asked to do something.
What a great example to us! She found a way to do what she could. Too many brethren (sisters) don’t do anything for the Lord because they are never asked. Follow Mary’s example; find something to do and do it.
She didn’t make excuses about her limitations.
I’m sure there were a lot of things she did not have (ability, time, resources, etc.) to properly do for Jesus. But she didn’t dwell on that; she sought out something that she could do. You can do a lot with even a little. Sadly, there are Christians today who make excuses for not doing for the Lord.
She didn’t worry about criticism.
And she was criticized, but she did it anyway! Which is more important, the praise of the Lord or the approval of men? We spend too much time worrying about what others will think or say. To gain the approval of the Lord, do what you can and don’t worry about men.
She didn’t fret over the cost.
It was very costly, but that was unimportant as far as she was concerned — Jesus was worth it. There are a lot of things that some people consider too valuable to give up for the Lord. But for a true follower, nothing is too big of a sacrifice for the One who was sacrificed for them.
Look at it this way: Can you do it? Then do what you can. “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23).
—Edd Sterchi Jackson Church of Christ, Jackson, MO