But seriously, this phrase has been hounding me...over my whole life. "She hath done what she could." You may be wondering what a phrase that has a feminine pronoun in it twice has to do with me (don't say anything!), but let me explain.
I came across this phrase again when reading a Lamplighter book, recently. I have a lot of the Lamplighter books as inventory, so I've been reading several of them before I have to send them back. The book was called, "Christie's Old Organ", first published in 1874, according to the front cover. In essence, the book is about an old man who is dying and asks his only friend in the world, a young orphan boy, to find out all he can about heaven before the old man's last month is up. The boy does as he's asked, and the old man learns about Jesus, but just before he dies he laments the fact that he wished he could have had more than one week to show Jesus how much he loved him. In remembrance of this, the boy devotes the rest of his life to demonstrating his love for Jesus, and the local minister mentions that the goal of each one of us should be that in the end, the Lord will be able to say of us, "He hath done what he could." That's what got me thinking of that.
The phrase comes from Mark 14:8. It's the well-known story of the woman with the alabaster box. This is the story as we find it in Mark:
She did everything she could! Went to the furthest possible extent to show Jesus her love! (By the way, is it furthest or farthest? I get mixed up about which to use...)
This was a very precious, precious gift. We learn from verse 5 that it might have been sold for more than 300 pence. A penny, Scripturally, is equivalent to a denarius, which was a day's wages. That means this gift was almost a year's wages! Think about that in today's terms! That's pretty incredible. It was probably her most precious possession, and she poured it out for Him. I find it interesting that Jesus says this will be story will be spoken of wherever the gospel is preached throughout the whole world. I think it's because, her response to Jesus parallels what He did for us. He poured out His soul in death for us, and she responded with appropriate gratitude. What she did could never equal what He was about to do, of course. But it showed that she understood the great gift He was about to give.
A similar story Jesus commends is in Luke 21. The widow with the two mites. He said that what she did for God was worth more than what all the other rich people did, because even though she only threw in two mites...probably not real significant towards paying for the elaborate temple in comparison to what the rich men were throwing in...but in God's eyes she'd cast in more than they all. "For all these have of their abundance cast in into the offering of God; but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had." (emphasis mine)
Why was the woman with the alabaster box to be spoken of throughout the whole world, wherever the gospel was preached for a memorial of her? I believe because she stands as a shining example of the correct response to the incredible good news, the incredible gift of the gospel. In response to God's great gift, we should be willing to pour out our lives for Him!
Now we might not die a martyr's death, or have the opportunity to physically give Him our most precious possession, but have we done what we can? Wouldn't those be wonderful words to hear? "He hath done what he could. Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of thy lord."
But what can we do? Whatever He asks. :) And above. Some of the things we do might be small. But the greatest gifts, I believe, are when we do unnoticed things for God just because we love Him. When we do something, without any other motive, without receiving any credit or recognition, (and maybe at times even receiving criticism), just because we love God...that's the greatest gift. A lot of times, this is simply accomplished by 'loving your neighbor as yourself.'
Our family watched a movie the other night called, 'To Save a Life.' At least, I think that was the title...but anyway, in the movie there is a kid who commits suicide just because he felt alone. The movie deals with people wrestling with reaching out to people who are usually ignored. He went to a youth group just before he died, but people were busy, distracted, and he left. But, as a result, people begin reaching out in small ways. Inviting people to sit with them at lunch, being friendly, etc. And it makes a difference.
Another Lamplighter book I read recently was called, "The Rescue of Jessica's Mother," a sequel to "Jessica's First Prayer." (Both are very touching stories, by the way.) But the second really addresses this particular man named Daniel as he reaches out to poor people, unlike the rich people in the congregation of the church he attends. He uses his comparatively smaller means to do what he can for God because he loves him. When I read or hear stories like these I realize I am lacking. I don't always do what I can. But I want to be able to say:
'Yes, Lord, yes, to Your will and to Your way.
I'll say yes, Lord, yes; I will trust You and obey.
When Your Spirit speaks to me,
With my whole heart I'll agree.
And my answer will be yes, Lord, yes.'
These have been my random thoughts recently. It's certainly not something I'm doing perfect. But with God's help, I want my answer to be 'yes', and I want to do what I can to show my love for Him.
In this season when people are thinking of Jesus' birthday, it's good to think of the precious gift Jesus gave us, and of the precious gift He was glad to receive...and that He wants to receive from us.
(5) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
(6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
(7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
(8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.