And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. - Mark 14:6-8
She hath done what she could. What a powerful and convicting statement. As the preacher said on Sunday, how many of us can honestly say that we've done everything we can? The truth is that we often fail to do the things we know we should do, but as I said, that's not really what I want to talk about this morning. Instead, I want to look at that passage from the viewpoint of someone with chronic illness, someone whose expectations far outweigh her abilities. Yes, I'm talking about myself, but this could apply to anyone who is sick, elderly, weak or any other number of things.
Notice that Jesus said Mary had done what she could. He didn't say she had done what Martha could or what Lazarus could. He didn't compare her efforts to anyone else's abilities or expectations. He knew what she had to offer, and He accepted it gladly and with commendation to her. Two chapters earlier, Jesus applauded the widow for casting her two mites into the treasury even though others cast in much more. It wasn't the amount that matter. It was the percentage. In both cases, each woman gave all that she had to give.
For whatever reason, God has each of us in our current state, whether that be young and healthy, old and sick, or somewhere in between. He knows what we're capable of, but He also understands our limits. God knows that I cannot physically accomplish what my husband can, and it does not honor Him when I try. I honor Him when I offer all that I have to give, however little that may seem to me. Whether it be strength or time or money, the lesson is the same: God is not comparing your sacrifice to others to see how it stands up. God is comparing your sacrifice to your ability--that's all! If we diligently give Him all that we have to give, He will bless us and applaud our giving.
I don't know about you, but that revelation has given me peace. I don't have to try to keep up with anyone else. I don't have to force strength and energy where there is none. All I have to do is what I can do. God will take care of the rest. What a relief!