DO WHAT YOU CAN

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

NOVEMBER 04, 2022

TOPIC: DO WHAT YOU CAN

BY T. O. BANSO

“She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Mark 14:8-9 New King James Version).

Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, and John 12:1-8 record the story of a woman who anointed Jesus with costly fragrant oil. The event took place in Bethany in the home of Simon who was previously a leper. Bethany was also the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha.

Matthew and Mark say the woman poured the expensive perfume on the head of Jesus while John says she anointed the feet of Jesus with it and wiped His feet with her hair. There is no contradiction. She could have done both but John focuses on the anointing of His feet while Mathew and Mark focus on the anointing of His head. Also, while Matthew and Mark do not mention the name of the woman, John tells us her name was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.

However, Mary was sharply criticized for her good deed. Mark 14:4-5 says, “But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.’ And they criticized her sharply’” (New King James Version).

But Matthew 26:8 says that Jesus’ disciples were indignant and asked, “Why this waste”? They said the fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor. However, John 12:4-5 credits Judas Iscariot for the criticism about why the fragrant oil was not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor. Most probably everyone present, including the disciples, was indignant but it was only Judas who spoke.

Nevertheless, Jesus defended Mary thus: “But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always’”(Mark 14:6-7 New King James Version).

He continued: “She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (verses 8-9 New King James Version).

Also, Matthew 26:10-13 records the words of Jesus in defence of Mary thus: “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (New King James Version).

John 12:7-8 puts Jesus’ defence of Mary this way: But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always’” (New King James Version).

Do what you can in any situation or capacity. Make sure you do the right thing no matter how insignificant it may seem to you. You may never know the impact it will make. There will always be critics. Leave them to their opinions but be led by the Holy Spirit and satisfy your conscience that you have done what you should and could do.

When Mary anointed Jesus’ body and feet, she never knew that she was anointing the body of Jesus beforehand for burial. She, probably, just did what she did because she considered it a good thing to do to honour Jesus. She might have been surprised when she heard Jesus say that she was preparing His body for burial. Till today, as Jesus said, we are still talking about her good deed. Do what you can but make sure it is the right thing.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus couldn’t prevent the death of Jesus but they could bury Him after His crucifixion. Joseph, a secret disciple of Jesus and member of the Jewish Council, had access to Pilate. He approached him to request the body of Jesus. He granted his request and Nicodemus and himself buried Jesus in Joseph’s new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock (Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:42-46; John 19:38-42; Luke 23:50-54). They both did what they could.

Also, on the third day after Jesus’ burial, Mary Magdalene and the other women were going to do what they could do – anoint the body of Jesus – in His tomb as the custom was when they discovered that He had risen (Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1; John 20:1; Matthew 28:1-2). If they had not gone to do what they could, they wouldn’t have been the first to know that Jesus had been resurrected. Do what you can. Do the good deed you can do. Don’t make excuses.

The widow in Luke 21 had only two mites – her last. But she gave all in the temple. She did what she could. Jesus took note of her good deed, her sacrificial giving, and said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had” (verses 3-4 New King James Version). God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Do what you can. When Jezebel was killing the prophets of God, Obadiah, who was a devoted follower of God, was in charge of the palace. He couldn’t stop Jezebel from her wickedness but he did what he could to protect the prophets of God and fed them despite the famine in the land. 1 Kings 18:4 says, “For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.)” (New King James Version). In verse 13, Obadiah told the Prophet Elijah about what he did to preserve the lives of these prophets. Do what you can where you are; don’t make excuses or listen to critics.

In Jeremiah 38, King Zedekiah’s officials, Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah put Jeremiah in an empty cistern or dungeon to die. But Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian did what he could. He approached the king to make a case for Jeremiah to be rescued so that he would not die in the cistern. The king granted his request and, as ordered by the king, Ebed-Melech took 30 men with him and they pulled out Jeremiah to ensure he didn’t die in the dungeon (verses 1-13). If not for Ebed-Melech, Jeremiah could have died in the dungeon.

Do what you can. Your action may save a life, encourage someone not to give up, help someone to succeed, and so on. See the reward Ebed-Melech received for his good deed: “Meanwhile the word of the LORD had come to Jeremiah while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying, ‘Go and speak to Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will bring My words upon this city for adversity and not for good, and they shall be performed in that day before you. But I will deliver you in that day,’ says the LORD, ‘and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me,’ says the LORD’” (Jeremiah 39:15-19 New King James Version).

Do what you can. The Macedonian churches did what they could; they gave even in their poverty. And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.  And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will” (2 Corinthians 8:1-5 New International Version).

The Macedonian churches gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. But nobody forced them or begged them to give. Also, Onesiphorus did what he could do to refresh Paul, especially when he was in the Roman prison. Paul said, “The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day–and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus” (2 Timothy 1:16-18 New King James Version).

Do what you can; don’t say it is insignificant. Do what you can; don’t compare yourself with others or wait for anyone. Do what you can; don’t listen to critics. Do what you can; don’t be weary. As Galatians 6:9 says, don’t grow weary while doing good, for in due season you shall reap if you do not lose heart. You shall reap whatever you sow (verse 7).

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Father, forgive me for my past failure to do what I could. Holy Spirit, help me henceforth to do what I can. Help me not to grow weary or lose heart while doing good so that I will reap my harvest in due season. I shall not listen to critics or engage in comparison but do what I can in Jesus’ name. I pray that all those who have become weary of doing good or have been discouraged by criticism or comparison will resume doing what they can in Jesus’ name.

(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
cedarministryng@gmail.com
Website: www.cedarministry.org