By Michael E. Brooks
“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. 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 14:6-9 NKJV).
The recent tragedies in Myanmar (cyclone) and China (earthquake) have killed, injured and severely distressed millions of people. Coming only a few months after the devastation of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh, and fresh on the memories of the tsunami of 2005 and Hurricane Katrina, these are reminders of the fragility and brevity of human life. With all our technology and industrial capabilities we are still small and powerless in the face of natures might.
Some who have given generously to relief efforts on these occasions might question whether their gifts are actually accomplishing any good. After all, won’t there be more storms or earthquakes? Will it not all be repeated endlessly?
Jesus said, “You have the poor with you always…” (Mark 14:7). This was not to discourage one from helping the poor, but to remind his disciples of continuous, perhaps unlimited, opportunities. There is always need. That never changes.
We are encouraged to help when and where we can. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). Paul told Titus to remind Christians “to be ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1). We are not to wait until compelled to offer assistance, but are to seek out opportunities and serve eagerly.
Finally, we are reminded to be persistent in our efforts. “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58). Jesus commended the woman who anointed him, saying, “She has
done what she could” (Mark 14:8). That is all that is asked of any of us, that we do what we can with what we have, and that we continue to serve so long as we
By Michael E. Brooks