Today’s post comes to us from Elisa Morgan, founder of MOPS International and the author of over 25 books. We’re thrilled that Elisa is one of five inspiring keynote speakers joining us tomorrow at the annual Celebration of Giving, a three-day experience that brings people together from around the country to consider what it means to be entrusted with wealth, experience, the joy of generosity, and excel in the grace of giving.
Most of us care. We really do. About our own lives for sure, and also about the lives of those around us. We care about poverty and injustice, about orphans and the sick. We care about the folks who live and work alongside us and what happens in their families and hearts and heads. And yet, weighed down by the everyday load of bringing home a paycheck, putting food on the table, and shuttling kids around, we question our ability to make a difference. Bombarded by the latest celebrity-help-the-world-athon, we shrug our shoulders in futility. Me? How? Faced with the seeming insignificance of what we can offer, we don’t offer anything.
Maybe it’s because we think we have to do something BIG Or EVERYTHING we could do. Or something no one else has done before, for it to count, to make a difference that matters.
But what if…every day…I did what I could? Just that? Not alllllll that I could but WHAT I could? What if – because I’m convinced that Jesus loves me and I love Him – every day I did what I could? What if the way I love Jesus back for Him loving me is to do what I could? What if the way Jesus shows the gospel to this world is sometimes through me – doing what I could?
In Mark 14:1-9 Jesus makes this exact point. Responding to Mary of Bethany as she anointed Him with oil, Jesus said in verses 6- 9, “She has done a beautiful thing to me…She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial…wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Five words have changed my life: She did what she could.
She: God chose a woman! Mary of Bethany. A sitter at Jesus’ feet rather than a dissenter who would betray him. God chose a woman who acted out her love for Him and paired her action with the telling of the gospel for all time to come.
Did: She acted. She didn’t just think about acting. She didn’t wait to be invited. She acted when it mattered – in a moment that would never be repeated.
What: She did what she could, not all she could. She choice a gift of nard – expensive, yes – but perfectly invested in the moment when its significance would matter to Jesus.
She: She acted from the context of her relationship with Jesus. The sister of hard-working Martha, Mary had learned who Jesus was by sitting at His feet. The sister of up-from-the-grave Lazarus, Mary had leaned into who Jesus was as she trusted Him with the impossibility of death.
Could: She acted with what she had in a public moment. She testified that she believed Jesus was the Messiah and challenged a room of religious leaders to decide what they would do with Jesus for themselves.
As a result she was ridiculed by others.
As a result she was honored by Jesus.
She did what she could. Because a relationship with Jesus results in a response, Mary put feet on her faith. She lived loved.
What if I did what I could? What if I, Elisa, acted today? I’m a woman loved by God, shaped by everything He’s allowed in my life. What if I acted – unapologetically giving out of who He has made be to be today?
What if we did what we could? You plus me equal we. What could we do together that we couldn’t do by ourselves?
A relationship with Jesus results in a response. So go ahead. Get out there and live loved!