She Did What She Could

by Raeleen Whip

I read a book this week called “You can’t ride a Yak” by a childhood friend Sarah Reardon. It’s an amazing God-story of how she has become enmeshed with deep love for the place and people of Nepal and how she began and expanded the Wise Women Project ministry. You can google this if you are interested. One line from the book fairly jumped off the page at me and it is one of the underpinning themes of the WWP organization. “She did what she could”

The words are spoken by Jesus in the middle of a very moving story. Mark 14 : 1 - 9

There are most likely, many truths that can be discerned from this exquisite story but I will focus on the most obvious…

Lavish love understood and experienced gives rise to extravagant worship and witness.

This woman was one who knew she was loved by a king. It’s as though she, who is unknown and has no name recorded, recognized well known Jesus, whose name was on many lips at that time. She knew He was more than just as a profound teacher or prophet or healer or miracle worker as he was generally known, she found that He could be her own personal Lord, that they could be in relationship and He could be loved and worshipped.

To begin with, only a small few really knew who He was, and she was to be counted among them.  Somehow this anonymous woman, who likely had no formal training and learning of scriptures as many Jewish men did from boyhood, personally experienced and understood the true nature and purpose of this man Jesus.  Those who should have known and recognized Jesus immediately did not and the one that shouldn’t have did.

Women were generally seen and not heard, so public speaking was pretty much censored for her. However, her desire to take opportunity to reveal the real Jesus to others outweighed any other sensibility, social propriety or feeling. So affected was she by her relationship with Jesus, that she chose to tell her world about who He was, without uttering a word.  She did what she could.

Her game plan was creative, bold, opulent, costly, and very very personal. It would humble her, she would have to find great courage to go through it. In a silent but intensely moving drama, her movements and intentions played out, and she left her witnesses in no doubt where her allegiance and affections lay.

The particular perfume she chose to pour out onto Him was worth a vast sum, it symbolised the very best in ancient culture. If you were blessed to be the bearer of this fragrance, it told everyone nearby that you must be greatly loved and valued.

The jar that held her most precious commodity was sealed.  You had to be very sure it was the right time, place and person before you contemplated opening your jar because the only way to open it, was to break the neck. This is how sure this woman was about who Jesus was and what He meant to her. She believed that He was worthy of the price she was choosing to pay, so not just a drop or smear would do, she wanted Jesus to have it all. She wanted others to know it too, so she broke the jar and poured it all out. This woman made sure there was no hiding her message of light, love and hope under any bushel. Nard was so potent that it’s fragrance could easily permeate a whole house and override the senses. It couldn’t be ignored. Her simple act instructed them all plainly, obviously, clearly, that to truly worship Jesus as He should be worshipped is to give him your best, your valuable, extravagant, costly all-in spite of possible consequences.

She could have chosen to do this somewhere private. Not make a scene. But I think a scene might be exactly what she wanted to make. Not a ‘look at me’ scene. But more a “look at my Jesus as I do” scene. “See that He loves us, and will welcome anyone and will place value on all, notice that He is trustworthy with who a person is, watch as He defends the defenceless, hear and discern the message of salvation, perceive that He desires to connect and be in relationship, comprehend that He loves and honours our trust, devotion and worship kind” of scene.

She wanted people to know who she worshipped as Saviour and Lord. Why else would she break convention and go to a public place, no doubt full of men and interrupt a dinner with her outrageous extravagance. She must have known that her presence was unlikely to garner the favour of all in the room. She was right. She risked and faced down the ire, because love was greater than her fears. She chose to do what she could regardless of what others might think or say, choosing to be selectively blind and deaf to the indignant critics around her. Honoring the lover of her soul was all that mattered. 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things on earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

This woman, in those moments of worshipful intimacy with her Lord lived those words, because she was all but deaf and blind to her indignant critics who could only see waste instead of worship, loss instead of love. There was waste and there was loss, but it was on them, not her. 

I pray that we will allow God to truly bring us to a place where we trust Him with our precious all, where we somehow “speak out” our love for Jesus because we know others need Him and everything that He is and everything He offers as much as we do. That we might become one that knows we are loved by a King who says to those around about Him, watch this woman, let it be known ‘She did what she could” .

 

Raeleen is a country gal, living in Longreach. She does life with a husband who loves God and perseveres in all things, two soft-souled sons, a most gracious and lovely daughter in law, two hilarious grandchildren, a wonderful church family and community. She loves creativity in most forms, but has a special bent towards photography, pottery, writing short stories and blending photos, fonts and bible verses. What I find myself wanting to do, is to persuade people to shift out of dark places in mind or soul into the light of God's truth and the love of His people where there can be found one of my favourite God words... Freedom... God has invited me to be a part of the leadership and women's ministry team at my local Baptist Church in Longreach.

 

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