“She has done what she could.” She wasn’t the first, and she wouldn’t be the last. The Gospel of Mark is full of examples.
Simon, Andrew, James, and John could leave their nets and boats behind when Jesus called them to follow him (1:16-20).
Simon’s mother-in-law could serve Jesus and his disciples (1:31).
Four men could carry a paralytic to Jesus (2:3). When they couldn’t get near him because of the crowd, they could remove the roof and lower their friend through the opening (2:4).
Levi could invite a crowd of tax collectors and sinners to his house so they could meet Jesus (2:13-17).
The demon-possessed man who had lived among the tombs could go home to his friends and tell them how much the Lord had done for him and how he had had mercy on him (5:19).
The woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years could believe the reports, force her way through the crowds, and try to at least touch the fringe of Jesus’ garments (5:27-28).
Gripped by fear and overwhelmed with grief, Jairus could cling to Jesus’ reassurance in the face of the impossible, “Do not fear, only believe” (5:36).
John the Baptist could stand for truth, even if it cost him his life (6:18).
A boy could offer five loaves of bread and two fish (6:38; John 6:9).
Friends and loved ones could bring sick people on their beds to wherever they heard Jesus was (6:54-56).
A Syrophoenician woman could defy the stereotypes, push through the prejudices, and beg Jesus to cast a demon out of her daughter (7:24-30).
People in the Decapolis could bring a deaf man with a speech impediment and beg Jesus to lay his hands on him (7:31-32).
People in Bethsaida could bring a blind man to Jesus and beg him to touch him (8:22).
Peter could confess, “You are the Christ” (8:29).
A desperate father could cry out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (9:24).
Parents could ignore the grumblers and bring their children to Jesus that he might touch them (10:13).
Blind Bartimaeus could cry out for mercy (10:46-47).
Someone in Jerusalem could allow their colt to be led up the Mount of Olives for Jesus to ride down (11:1-6). Others could throw their cloaks on the colt (11:7). Others could lay their cloaks on the road. Still others could cut palm branches from the fields, spread them along the road, and shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (11:8-10).
A poor widow could put two small copper coins–everything she had, all she had to live on–in the temple offering box (12:41-44).
And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” (14:3-9)
She did what she could. She wasn’t the first, and she wouldn’t be the last.
Someone furnished a guest room where Jesus could eat the Passover with his disciples (14:12-16).
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome had followed Jesus and ministered to him in Galilee. They could at least watch as he breathed his last (15:40-41).
Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Jewish council, could take courage and ask Pilate for the body of Jesus. He could buy a linen shroud, take the body down from the cross, and lay him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock (15:43-46).
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome could bring spices on a Sunday morning to anoint Jesus’ body (16:1). They could believe the incredible news that he had risen. They could go, tell his disciples and Peter that Jesus was going before them to Galiee (16:4-7).
The disciples could go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation (16:15). And wherever the gospel has been proclaimed in the whole world, the things these ordinary men and women did have been told in memory of them. Not all were empowered to work miracles. Most didn’t preach a sermon. Just one of them walked on the water with Jesus. The vast majority weren’t wealthy. They weren’t the movers and shakers. We don’t even know most of their names. They just did what they could.
Today, Jesus doesn’t expect you to feed thousands with five loaves and two fish. You can’t move a mountain with a word. You probably won’t have to tear a roof off to lower a friend through an opening. But you can still do beautiful things for him.
Don’t worry today about the things you can’t control. Don’t fixate on the things you’re not able to accomplish. Don’t be discouraged when others are shortsighted, selfish, or even scold you for standing up and stepping out. Just do the next right thing. Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone. Do what you can and leave the rest in the hands of your wonder-working God.