She Did What She Could: A Reminder to Each Do Our Part

 “She did what she could.”

His words came like a knife, cutting short the scornful looks of the brothers – those young men who’d eventually become the fathers of the faith (Mk. 14:8).

As they hovered over the fragrant perfume seeping into the dust, they didn’t have the foresight to see how all of Church history would recall this moment with tenderness and honor – yet Jesus knew it in the very moment (Jn. 12:1-8).

His words countered their scorn, with perspective-shifting clarity, calling her act a good work and saying in essence: she did her part.

And to the the girl holding the broken flask, He ensured,

It was right. It was good. It was your part.

We Each Have a Part to Play

It’s His perspective and how it applies to each of us that strikes me. That little part – conjuring from others such disdain in one moment and such approval in another – it was somehow the very thing she was fashioned by God to do. Something so seemingly impulsive and reckless was actually timeless in its sovereign role.

Like that moment in a symphony when the conductor motions to just one single instrument to lift its voice, this was her part to play.

Mary could never do what Peter did. Her part would never look like John’s. Yet what she did was so profoundly needed.

We each have a part to play. We’re all fashioned for something that the Lord desires to one day sum up with:

She did what she could …

He did what he could.

We’re not promised that that something will be understood by those around us. It may never make masses applaud or be popularly received. In fact, to play our part is costly. It’s narrow.

It’s only a sliver of the symphony.

It may not be generally deemed appropriate or wise or useful. Yet never should we draw back from doing what we can – what we were in fact made to do.

We Were Made to be Pleasing to Him

We often lose our way by the reactions of those around, trying to sound more similar to the next, to blend in, or even to hold back. Yet in such responses we lose. The rise and fall of others’ praise and disdain will do just that – rise and fall.

If we only ever get swept up in the trends and the sway of the day, we lose our carefulness in being faithful to that specific thing He’s put in our hands.

We’ve only this little bit of time – our little window in this age of faith – to do what we were fashioned to do, the works He prepared for us to walk in (Eph. 2:10, 5:15-16).

The One who formed our inward parts and knit us together in our mother’s womb knows what He fashioned us for (Ps. 139: 13, 16). To do anything else is the actual “waste” — it’s a great loss to spend years of heartache and turmoil trying to do the part of another.

Like Mary, we each need to hear that voice and see those eyes that hold the authority and the design over the little part He’s entrusted us with.  It’s His view and His evaluation that cuts through the comparisons, the measurements and the fantasies of what we imagine we should do or be.

He alone knows that part of the story — that part of the symphony — He fashioned us for.

We break our flask and lift our instrument with eyes fixed keenly on Him alone. And as we do, He brings us into the safety of finding peace before His eyes, His estimations, of us (Ps. 131:1-2).

It is, in fact, for Him that we were made for (Col. 1:16).

When our days of this life are through, and when faith is finally made sight, isn’t it what we long for to look into the eyes of Jesus — the eyes of the One who fashioned us and knew the days ordained for us before one of them came to be — and there find the pleasure of the Artist — the Master Craftsmen — who has brought His good work to completion in us? (Col. 1:10; Ps. 139:16; Eph. 5:27; Phil. 1:6).

Yes, we were made with this ache — this longing for such satisfaction in His eyes.

For we were made for that day, when, like the author penning the final word that ties the entire storyline together, our faith’s Author and Finisher would proclaim over our lives:

She did what she could …

He did what he could.

O Lord, then, help us each to do our part.

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