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Mark 14:8 (NKJV)  … She has done what she could.

Have you ever had an inconspicuous phrase in a Bible verse that you’ve read past a hundred times suddenly jump out at you?

My friend and co-laborer in God’s work, Fred, was preaching on discipleship last weekend and pointed out the simple phrase “she has done what she could do” from Mark 14:8. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it all week. While my brother eloquently told the story in an engaging sermon, I couldn’t help but continue to build on a mental list of practical applications of this simple phrase.

From the passage, we find those present griped about the woman’s apparently wasteful and emotional display. Keep in mind it was Jesus Himself who said (in today’s vernacular): “get off her case… she did what she could do.”  Jesus wasn’t patronizing her. He called it “a good work for Me.” I’ll take that kind of compliment from the Savior of the Universe any day.

Mark 14:6-8  6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8 She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 

So unless I’m missing the point, it would appear that the Prince of Peace, the Creator of All That Is, the King of Kings says that even if it doesn’t amount to “much” (in our eyes), if you just sincerely “do what you can do”, it is a GOOD WORK for Him.  Boy, that sure changes things, doesn’t it? 

Do What You Can Do

How easy it would have been for the woman to pass up the opportunity, not wanting to make a spectacle of herself; or rationalizing “who am I? I’m nobody. I have little. This is Jesus. Nothing I can do will matter.”  How often do we hear, or use similar excuses out of fear, complacency or avoidance?

  • I don’t have enough time to be effective in ministry. DO WHAT YOU CAN DO.
  • I don’t make much money, my giving won’t matter. DO WHAT YOU CAN DO.
  • I can’t sing, can’t speak publicly, and I’m not a very good teacher.  DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. 
  • I’m nobody, what difference can I ever really make?  DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. 
  • I’m too young. No one cares about what I think or what I contribute.  DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. 
  • I’m too old. No one gives a hoot about us anymore.  DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. 
  • I’m tired and I’ve already done my share. My time is past.  DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. 
  • I’m scared.  DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. 
  • I’m uncertain.  DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. 
  • I’m unsure of God’s will.  In the meantime:  DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. 
  • I don’t know much about the Bible or my faith. While you learn, DO WHAT YOU CAN DO.
  • I have no clue how to tell others about Christ. While you are being discipled and trained how,  DO WHAT YOU CAN DO.
  • My life is a wreck, how can I matter in God’s Kingdom?  DO WHAT YOU CAN DO.
  • I’m the least of the least. The Apostle Paul was “least-er” than you (Ephesians 3:8). DO WHAT YOU CAN DO.

How proficient we are with excuses (sorry, I meant “reasons”) about NOT doing something for God or with our faith. What small dreams and expectations we have in the Kingdom because of the perceived things WE CANNOT DO. Jesus gave us the answer to that: DO WHAT YOU CAN DO.

Remind Yourself of the Facts Then Do What You Can Do 

Remind yourself of what God has already declared TRUE about you… remind yourself of what Jesus has already accomplished for you by dying on the Cross in your place… remind yourself about what God has already GIVEN you and is now at your disposal… then marvel at what you can do:

  • FACT: you are blessed with every spiritual blessing – Ephesians 1.3
    • God has given us everything we need and more! He has left nothing unfinished, unprepared or unsettled. He has taken care of every aspect of this life, and the one to come.
  • FACT: you were chosen by God before the foundation of the earth – 
    Ephesians  1.4

    • Think of that. God chose us before the world was ever created. He doesn’t explain the reality of that to us in full, but it leaves us awestruck at the thought. (Note: This is not a study of Calvinism, so let’s just enjoy the simple truth of the verse for now.)
  • FACT: you are holy and blameless before God because of Christ – 
    Ephesians  1.4

    • God sees you as He sees Christ. Your sin was removed and placed on Christ. Christ’s holiness has been accounted to you.
  • FACT: you were predestined to be adopted by God – 
    Ephesians  1.5

    • God had already decided that you were going to be one of His adopted children. He predetermined for His “own good pleasure” that you would be in His family.
  • FACTyou were redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ – 
    Ephesians  1.7

    • Christ has bought you back from the slave trade of sin. He paid the purchase price for you and you now belong to Him.
  • FACTyou are forgiven of all your sins – 
    Ephesians  1.7

    • Your sins are forgiven. When God sees you on the Day of Judgment, you will have no sin that needs to be paid for.
  • FACT: you have obtained an inheritance from God – 
    Ephesians  1.11

    • As a child of God, you will receive an inheritance from God. We so easily get excited about a financial inheritance from an earthly family member, how much more exciting is an eternal inheritance?
  • FACT: you are sealed with the guarantee of salvation by the Holy Spirit – 
    Ephesians  1.13-14

    • You are sealed with the guarantee of salvation from none other than God Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit. Could you ask for a better guarantee?
  • FACT: your spiritual eyes have been opened to God’s truths – 
    Ephesians  1.18

    • The truth of God that was once nonsense to you is now a heavenly treasure. You’re spiritual eyes are open and God can now illume your heart concerning eternal truths.
  • FACT: Christ is your head, and you are part of His body which He fills “all in all” – 
    Ephesians  1.23

    • Christ is now the head of a body that you belong to. You are part of His Body. You have a purpose, a function and a responsibility in life now. He will fill you “all in all” in order to be successful in your heavenly assignment.
  • FACT: you were dead in sin, but now you are alive in Christ – 
    Ephesians  2.1

    • You were dead in sin! Dead! Dead, dead, dead. Sin was your fate and destiny. You were hopelessly enslaved and condemned to eternal separation from God. Now you are alive in Christ! You are alive and your destiny now is an eternity with Jesus!

  • FACT: you are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus – 
    Ephesians  2.6

    • You now share Christ’s exaltation and pre-eminent (above all) glory. You are spiritually seated with Christ already having had the blessings of salvation bestowed on you.
  • FACT: you are a product of God’s personal work – 
    Ephesians  2.10

    • You are no mere commoner. You are no accident. You are a product of God’s own workmanship, purposely created and crafted by Him for His purposes.
  • FACT: you are now created in Christ Jesus to do foreordained good works – 
    Ephesians  2.10

    • Like your salvation, your sanctification and good works are predestined and orchestrated by a loving God who has planned them specifically for you alone.
  • FACT: you are a new person at peace with God and reconciled to Him – 
    Ephesians  2.15-16

    • You are no longer at war against God. God has no debt to collect from you. You have been reconciled to God and returned to His presence as a new person.
  • FACT: you now have direct access to the throne room of the King of the Universe – 
    Ephesians  2.18

    • You may now directly approach God because He sees you as He sees Christ. You now have access to very throne room of Heaven.
  • FACT: you are no longer a stranger, but a citizen of heaven and a member of God’s household– 
    Ephesians  2.19

    • You are not a foreigner, no longer a stranger to God. You are now one of His children, adopted into His family, welcomed into His Home.
  • FACT: you are part of the holy dwelling place of God – 
    Ephesians  2.22

    • You are now part of the Body of Christ whose parts make up the temple that God in the Spirit dwells in.

Remind yourself of all those things and then DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. Jesus will be just as pleased with you as He was with the woman who annointed Him for His impending death on our behalf.  Whatever you can do, do it and the Lord of Life will say “you’ve done a GOOD work for Me!”