A few days before the Passover, Jesus was sitting at the table sharing a meal with some of his disciples. A woman came into the house, broke open a very expensive jar of her perfume, and began to pour the perfume on Jesus’ head. The symbolism of what the woman was doing was in custom with preparing a body for burial, but Jesus was not dead.
Jesus had told the disciples a few times before this that he would suffer and be killed, but his disciples did not believe him or understand why he would say such a thing. Yet this woman comes and uses an extremely expensive perfume—today’s value would be around $30,000—to anoint or cleanse Jesus’ body. Even in that moment, and knowing full well the symbolism of the woman’s actions the disciples did not understand and condemned her actions says, “She could have sold that perfume and given the money to the poor.” Angry with what he hears, Jesus confronts his followers with a very important statement. Jesus says, “She did what she could.”
I want to take what Jesus says here and apply it to us today. I believe Jesus’ words about this woman to his disciples blasts a gaping hole in many of our arguments today. When we see a need that someone has, an injustice being carried out, or a cause that requires efforts to stand for or against we quickly heap on the limitations of our ability to help. We such things as: “I do not have the money to help. I do not have the time to help. I do not know them and they will think I am crazy or I will embarrass them if I try to help. I do not have the abilities, skills, or gifts to be able to serve in that way.” We could go on and on but I am sure you get where I am going with this.
Here in lies the problem; our first instinct is to say all the things we cannot do, but what we cannot do is not what these situations require of us. Here is the crazy thing, God does not ask us what we cannot do. What is being asked of us is, “What can you do?” Now that changes everything does it not? Our instinct is to begin to limit what we could do as not being good enough, but remember though Jesus said of the woman, “She did what she could.”
God does not say we have to empty our bank accounts, jeopardize our health, or spend every waking moment helping people in need. All He asks of us is, “What can you do?” Not sure what the answer is? I will give you a hint there is only one wrong answer.