Remember one thing, God never holds you responsible for what you cannot do. God is not unreasonable. He asks for "your reasonable service" Romans 12:1,

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

We need to say today and everyday,

"I am only one, but I am one; I cannot do everything, but I can do something. That which I can do, I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do!"

Notice what it doesn't say about this woman Mary,

-She didn't walk on water.

-She didn't raise the dead.

-She didn't heal the sick.

-She didn’t build a temple.

But she just "did what she could" - Amen!!!

You may say,

· "I can’t give a million dollars, but I can tithe."

· "I can’t sing like Steve Green, but I can make a joyful noise unto the Lord."

· "I can’t paint a picture like Thomas Kincade, but I can help clean the church."

· "I can’t preach like Clarence Sexton, but I can invite people to church."

· "I can’t win souls like a Dr. Carl Hatch, but I can pass out tracts."


James 4:17 says,

"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."

Jesus said about Mary,

"She hath done what she could."

Let’s look at some things about Mary and see why Jesus says this about her.

#1) She was FAMILIAR with the SITUATION

Mary was always at Jesus’ feet, soaking up everything He had to say.

In Matthew chapter twenty-six she is anointing Jesus.

In Mark chapter fourteen, she was sitting at the feet of Jesus.

In Luke chapter ten, she was sitting at the feet of Jesus.

And in John chapter twelve, here she is again very close to the Lord Jesus and ready to anoint him with this most expensive oil of Spikenard.

The question for us is this.

How close are we to the Lord?

How much time have we spent at the feet of Jesus?

In John 15:4-7 Jesus said,

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."

Abiding in Christ is what Mary was memorialized for. It means to stay, to continue, to dwell, to endure, to be present, to remain, to stand, and to tarry.

#2) She was Forward in her Service:

-She did not delay or hesitate. She had to act NOW or she might not have another chance to show Jesus how much she loved Him!

Jesus told the murmurers to "leave her alone." He said that she was doing a good work on Him and thus it was not a waste. She realized that Jesus would not be with them forever and she did not hesitate to act quickly while she had a chance.

Personal Illustration:

I am 51 years of age and I feel very strongly that the Lord led me to this church so that we could work together to see God do great and mighty things through this church. We have an opportunity that most churches do not have.

We live in the most densely populated part of the United States and have most nations of the world represented right here in our community. We need to act and to act without delay. If we really believed that the Lord may come at any moment, then why would be so lax in our commitment to do something while we have the chance.

Jesus said in John 9:4,

"I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. "

Jesus also said in Luke 19:13,

"Occupy till I come."

I believe that we don’t have a lot of time to waste! Jesus could come at any moment! That thought should cause us to live in anticipation and expectation and cause us to be like Mary, not considering it wasteful to serve Jesus and give Him all because He is worthy of our best amen!

That leads me to our final point,

#3) She was Faithful with her Substance:

She gave Jesus the best— She didn’t give the Lord her leftovers.


A plant that grows in the Himalayas. It is the extracted oil of a plant which is used and an oil and which was used by the Romans for anointing the head. It was one of the most expensive of the oils of that day.

The amount of spikenard oil that Mary used was worth about a year’s worth of wages back then. She sacrificed and she was generous!

True sacrifice will COST you something.

Jesus told His followers in Luke 14:26, 27, and 33,

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."

Sounds like sacrifice to me!


Sitting majestically atop the highest hill in Toledo, Spain, is the Alcazar, a 16th-century fortress. In the civil war of the 1930s, the Alcazar became a battleground when the Loyalists tried to oust the Nationalists, who held the fortress. During one dramatic episode of the war, the Nationalist leader received a phone call while in his office at the Alcazar. It was from his son, who had been captured by the Loyalists. The ultimatum: If the father didn’t surrender the Alcazar to them, they would kill his son. The father weighed his options. After a long pause and with a heavy heart, he said to his son, "Then die like a man."

Mary could afford to sacrifice this expensive Spikenard oil because in only a matter of days, He Himself would offer the greatest sacrifice of all on the cross for the sins of the world.

1Peter 2:24 says

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree."

II Corinthians 5:21 says this,

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."


-Mary was FAMILIAR with the SITUATION, she was always close to the Lord Jesus, sitting at His feet, anointing Him with oil, and doing what she could, while she could.

- She was Forward in her Service, she didn’t hesitate, she didn’t delay.

- She was Faithful with her Substance, she gave her best to the Lord.

And here's the thing, Jesus recognized her and memorialized her forever in the scriptures. Look again quickly at Mark 14:9,

"Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her."


D.L. Moody tells the following true story: A passenger crossing the Atlantic in the mid-1800’s went to his bunk during a storm due to a terrible bout with sea­sickness. Suddenly he heard someone cry, "Man overboard!" He thought, "May God help that poor fellow, but there is nothing I can do as sick as I am." Then he realized, "Wait, there is something I can do; I can put my lantern in the porthole." He struggled to his feet and hung the lantern so it’s light shone out into the dark­ness. The man was rescued and recounted the story the next day, "I was going down when a light shined upon my hand. Suddenly a life preserver landed within my reach and I was pulled to safety!"

The Lord Jesus Christ had something to say to memorialize Mary of Bethany. He said, "She Hath Done What She Could." It’s similar to what we would like to here Jesus say to us when we see Him in heaven, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."

What is the Lord going to say about us when we meet Him?

Are you sure that you are going to meet the Lord? Have you been born again?

Let's pray.