She did what she could . . . Mark 14:8
She wobbled on unsteady legs along the paved path. She had a destination – the cool, blue waters nearly fifteen feet away. Each step was laborious and particular. She was new at this – walking, that is – and careful to give each small attempt her best effort. She calculated every opportunity to place one foot in front of the other, her eyes staring intently at the ground underneath. Her tempo was erratic and uneven. It lacked the smooth cadence of the more experienced around her, but . . .
. . . she did what she could.
She was, after all, only eleven months old.
The ill-timed tempo of her newfound gait was breathtaking to watch – a delicate and thoughtful balance between equilibrium and velocity. Her complete and utter concentration centered on maintaining both as she moved away from the safety of her mom’s arms to the edge of the waiting pool waters. She was anxious to join her father and older siblings there. So, she walked. Forward. Her legs, wobbling like those of a new-born fawn.
It was clear that she was unsure about this whole venture. After all, being carried by others was far more comfortable and familiar. And yet, each time she put a foot down on the warm pavement, she found it able. Her arms flailed to regain balance when it seemed like all was lost but not once along the way did she give up. She couldn’t. She was going somewhere worth the effort.
So, instead of folding to fear or caving to comparison . . .
. . . she did what she could.
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Jesus never refused well-intended, pure-hearted efforts no matter how meager and paltry. When a marginalized widow had nothing more than a lowly mite to thrust into the offering, it was her example that the Savior upheld as the standard for true generosity. And when Mary of Bethany poured a lavish and extravagant offering upon Him during the week of His crucifixion, the Savior received it wholeheartedly despite the disgust of others who’d chalked up the whole scandalous display to wastefulness. In each case, on either extreme, He’d highlighted a simple yet profoundly life-altering principle . . .
She did what she could.
And it was enough.
In many seasons of life, we are prone to wonder if any of it matters – our hard work, our consistent investment, our intentionality, our full engagement and dedication. We question whether our wobbly, unsteady steps in any one direction will actually be worth the calculated, painstaking efforts required to get us to the next place in the journey of life. Often, we withhold our offering – be it time, talents or treasure – assuming that it will never be good enough to be received by our Lord or that others might label it a complete waste. We question whether small steps are worthy steps; worthy enough to please Him and strong enough to propel us toward our destiny. We do nothing and choose to remain in the comfort of complacency. And yet, I suspect that Jesus might not focus on the things that we tend to. He’d likely not point out our lack nor magnify our deficiency. He wouldn’t look to the opinions of others to determine the significance of our efforts. Our kind, tender, humble Lord would look us squarely in our eyes and whisper words that would immediately lift unwarranted pressure from our weary shoulders . . .
Beloved, do what you can.
Take the step.
Offer the gifting.
Submit the idea.
Set the goal.
Say the prayer.
Make the request.
Use the talents.
Do what you can.
Don’t compare your steps to the ones of those more experienced around you. He’d never require their steps from you anyway. Don’t allow yourself to slump to the ground in defeat when your equilibrium falters and your knees shutter under the struggle of awkward newness. Move forward – flailing arms and all – knowing that fledgling, unsteady strides become strong, secure stabilized ones over time. Today’s steps are building the strong foundation for tomorrow successes. You’re going to need every bit of tawny muscle you are building to hold you upright in your future calling. Your destiny will require your strength.
So do what you can.
And when you do, your Savior will receive every God-inspired, pure-hearted effort as an offering. Big or small, He will see your heart behind it all.
What has He called you to do? And what of that can you do today?