Mark 14:3-8 (Text = Verse 8)




It was the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

He spent each day in Jerusalem.


And each night in the nearby suburb of Bethany.

Night came.


Jesus went out to Bethany.

He went to be the honored guest for dinner at the house of Simon the Leper.


Mark called him Simon the Leper.

But it was against the law for a leper to be in the presence of so many people.


So this seems to be someone that Jesus had healed;

Someone who wanted to do what he could for Jesus.


A woman was present.

Our text didn’t identify her.


But John said she was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (Jn. 12:3).

Mary came, “having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious”

(Verse 3).


It was the custom in those days to anoint the honored guest with oil.

People usually used a cheap oil for that.


But Mary approached Jesus with a beautiful container of very expensive oil.

“And she brake the box, and poured it on his head” (Verse 3).


“And there were some that had indignation within themselves” (Verse 4).

Some guests were upset.


They thought within themselves, “Mary’s extravagance is foolish.”

One man asked, “Why was this waste of the ointment made?”


“For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have    

been given to the poor.”

John said this man was Judas Iscariot.


And Judas Iscariot asked, “Why was this oil wasted on Jesus?”

“We could’ve sold it for a year’s wages.”


“We could’ve given the money to the poor.”

“And they murmured against her” (Verse 5).


I’ve never liked Judas Iscariot.

He was stealing from Jesus.


He betrayed Jesus with a kiss.

But there’s something else that bothers me here.


It’s the fact that the other disciples joined in the criticism of Mary.

And something inside me wants to say, “Judas Iscariot was right.”


I don’t feel good about that.

I don’t want to side with Judas Iscariot.

But a year’s wages would help a lot of needy people.

It would do a lot of good.


Jesus said, “Let her alone; why trouble ye her?”

“She hath wrought a good work on me” (Verse 6).


He added, “SHE HATH DONE WHAT SHE COULD” (Verse 8).

That’s out text:



That’s what Jesus wants.


He doesn’t want us to do the impossible.

He wants us to do what we can.


Some of us are quick to criticize what others are doing for Jesus.

But how many of us are doing what WE CAN for Jesus?


I’ve heard people say, “Our Church isn’t doing anything.”

I don’t agree with that.


I do agree that we’re not doing all we can.

But suppose our Church isn’t doing anything.


Who’s the Church (point at them)?

If our Church isn’t doing anything, you’re not doing anything.


Boy, I hope that’s not true.

Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth:”


“But if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?”

“It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under      

foot of men” (Matt. 5:13).


If you aren’t doing anything, you’re worthless to God.

If you aren’t doing anything, you deserve to be cast out of the Kingdom.


If you aren’t doing anything, why aren’t you?

Didn’t Jesus die for you?


Are you unthankful?

Are you going to say you have faith without works?


James said, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works        

is dead also” (James 2:26).

If you aren’t doing anything, you’re like a corpse;


Like a body without a spirit.

Fruit is a sign of salvation.


If you aren’t bearing fruit, you might not be saved.

You need to check this out.


And I need to get back to Mary.

Jesus said, “She is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying”

(Verse 8).


We would say, “Mary came to do something before it’s too late.”

Someday, it will be too late to attend Church;


Too late to give;

Too late to serve;


Too late to visit;

Too late to do something.


A beggar sat by the side of a road in India.

He held out a bowl and begged for rice.


He saw a prince coming down the road.

He thought, “This is my lucky day.”


“This prince will fill my bowl with rice.”

But the prince didn’t fill his bowl with rice.


The prince said, “Give me your rice.”

“I can’t; it’s all I have.”


“Give me your rice.”

“I can’t; it’s all I have.”


“For the last time, give me your rice.”

The beggar reached into his bowl;


Removed three grains of rice;

And gave them to the prince.


The prince reached into his pocket;

Removed three nuggets of gold;


And gave them to the beggar.

The beggar said, “I wish I had done what I could?”


We don’t know the day or the hour.

But the Prince of Peace is coming.


We will wish that we had done all we could.

My friend, Faye Brewer, is on his death bed (8/20/03).


He’s served God since he was seventeen years old.

He’s now seventy-one years old.


Faye has given and witnessed to people all over Dyer.

But on his death bed he’s saying, “I could’ve given more.”


“I could’ve said more.”

“I will not ask God to extend my life.”


“But if He does, I intend to give and do more.”

Some of us have cars, clothes, houses, jewelry and money.


And yet, that’s not anything.

The things of this world will be worthless when the grim reaper is standing    

over our bed.


2nd---Jesus took a seat at the Temple.

He was watching the rich throw money into the collection box.


He was watching a poor widow throw two mites into the collection box.

Two mites was a pittance compared to what the rich were giving.

That wouldn’t do much for anyone.

But Jesus said the poor widow’s gift was the greatest gift of all.


He said she gave “ALL SHE HAD, EVEN ALL HER LIVING” (Mark 12:44).

I don’t know how He did it.


But Jesus was watching our giving today.

K. P. Yohannan wrote a book about his missionary work in India.


An American woman wrote to say, “I’ve disconnected my telephone and      


“I’m sending the money I save to support your ministry.”


After several years of giving, she wrote again to say, “I don’t miss my

telephone and television.”

“I have more time to pray and study my Bible.”


Later, she wrote again to say, “I’ve stopped using hot water so I can increase         

my giving.”

She was doing all she could.


I don’t think God asks us to go this far.

But He will bless us when we do.


Two women were walking in the park when they saw a frog.

The frog said, “If one of you will kiss me, I’ll turn into a prince and give you          

a thousand dollars.”


One woman picked up the frog, put it in her pocket, and kept on walking.

The other woman asked, “Why didn’t you kiss that frog to see if he gave you        

a thousand dollars?”


The first woman replied, “I’d rather have a talking frog than a thousand        


When we stand before God, we would rather know that we had done all we  

could than to know that we accumulated cars, clothes, houses, jewelry          

and money.


3rd---God told Elijah to go to Zarephath.

He said, “I have commanded a widow there to sustain thee” (I Kings 17:9).


Elijah went.

He found a widow gathering sticks.


Elijah said, “Bring me I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand”

 (Verse 11).

She replied, “As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an

handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse:”


“And, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me

and my son, THAT WE MAY EAT IT, AND DIE” (Verse 12).

“And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said:”


“But make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me,”

“And after make for thee and for thy son” (Verse 13).


“For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste,

neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain

upon the earth” (Verse 14).

“And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah:”

“And she, and he, and her house, did eat many days” (Verse 15).

Elijah was hungry.


God said, “I’ve appointed a poor widow to give you something to eat.”

Elijah found her.


He said, “Give me a piece of bread.”

She said, “I’ve just enough meal and oil for one last meal for my son and I.”


Elijah said, “Feed me first.”

“And the two of you can eat what’s left.”


God will take care of you.

Would you do it?


Would you give your child’s last meal to a stranger and trust God to take care        

of you?

This widow did.


And her last meal fed three people for almost a year and a half.

There’s a great lesson here.


If we want God to help us, we need to make sacrifices for others.

God didn’t put this Church in this community for those around it to serve us.


He put this Church in this community for us to serve those around it.

We want them to come to this Church.


But first, they have to notice this Church.

And they’re not going to notice this Church, if they don’t see us doing         



Revivals, community picnics, MYF and things like that are very important.

They’re ways of loving our neighbors as ourselves.


If we want more members, we have to start by making a difference in their    


And we have to trust God to take care of us.


A farmer was known for his generous giving at Church.

A friend asked, “How can you give away so much?”


“And be so prosperous?”

“It’s easy,” he replied.

“I keep shoveling into God’s bin.”

“And God keeps shoveling into mine.”


“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and       

shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.”

“For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you   

again” (Luke 6:38).


4th---Peter and John went to the Temple to pray.

They passed a beggar.


He asked for money.




“In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”


“And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up:”

“And immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.”


“And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple,

walking, and leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:6-8).

Peter didn’t focus on what he didn’t have.


He focused on what he did have.

He had the help of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.


He reached out his hand;

Pulled up the beggar;


And Jesus worked a great miracle.

We’re surrounded by hurting people.


We can sit here as a Church and say, “We’re small.”

“We don’t have much money.”


Or, by faith we can reach out;

Give people a pull;


And expect a miracle.

Rev. Chester Swor was crippled.


He said, “I will serve God with the best that I have.”

“And when I need Him, He will be right there.”

The day came when he had a wreck.

He was thrown from his car.


He hit the ground.

He broke several bones.


He was knocked unconscious.

He was losing blood.


But the very first car that came by was driven by a doctor.

He had a nurse with him.


They rushed Rev. Swor to the hospital.

The doctor operated.


And Rev. Swor’s physical condition was better after the wreck than it was    

before the wreck.

We need to do what we can and trust God to take care of us.


Sonia Johnson said, “We must remember that one determined person can     

make a significant difference.”

“And a small group of determined people can change the course of history.”


One determined Church member can make a significant difference in the       

direction of this Church.

But a small group of determined Church members can turn this Church back

into a growing Church.


Someone may say, “I’m afraid of what people will say about me.”

Duhhh! That’s a popular phrase today.


But the spell check on my computer didn’t like Duhhh.

The criticism of people just proves that Jesus was right.


He said, “If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you” (Jn. 15:20).

How did He tell us to respond to it?


He said, “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad (Jn. 5:12).

How can we rejoice and be exceeding glad over being criticized?


Jesus said, “Great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the         

prophets which were before you.”

Doing what we can in the face of criticism piles up rewards in heaven.


And it puts us in the greatest company the world has ever known.

Bearing criticism for doing God’s work puts us in the company of Jesus and          

the prophets.


5th---Jesus had been preaching all day.

About five thousand men were following Him.


And most commentators believe that many thousand women and children     

were tagging along too.

They were hungry.


Jesus looked at Philip and asked, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may

eat” (Jn. 6:5)?

Jesus didn’t have to ask Philip this question.


He knows everything.

He even knows the future.


If Jesus ever asks you a question, He’s testing you.

He was testing Philip.


And Philip failed.

In essence Philip said, “Lord, you know we don’t have enough money.”


“Six months wages won’t buy enough food to feed this crowd.”

Lord, you know we’re about broke.


It will take a small fortune to feed this mob

(There must have been a lot of Methodists in that crowd).


(I saw some of you loading your plates not long ago).

(With the cooks we have, it takes a lot to feed a group like this).


Andrew failed the test too.

Andrew said, “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two      

small fishes:”



We fail the test too.


“We have a little money BUT IT’S JUST A DROP IN THE BUCKET.”

Think with me just a minute.


Has God ever brought you through meager circumstances?

Almost every adult in here will probably say, “Yes.”


But it seems that none of us have learned that God can supply all our needs.

Yes! The needs are always great.

Yes! The funds are always small.

But that’s never a problem for God.


The problem that God has is all those who are not doing what they can.

Here’s the rest of the story.


Jesus took the five loves and two fishes;

He gave thanks;


Told His disciples to distribute the food;

And after they had fed about twenty thousand people, they had twelve baskets

 of food left over.


6th---A man fell among thieves.

He was stripped, beaten and left half dead.


A priest came by, saw him, and kept going.

A Levite came by, saw him, and kept going.


A Samaritan came by bound up his wounds, anointed him with oil, put him on        

his animal, took him to an inn, and took care of him.

The Samaritan did what he could.


What does that have to do with us?

Jesus said, “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:33-37).


Evangelist Roland Hill was walking near a gravel pit when he saw three          

workers get caught in a rock slide.

All he could do was yell.


So he yelled.

And his yelling brought rescue workers.


Norman Vincent Peale wrote about a young man named Mike who was sent  

to the School Superintendent’s office.

His teacher said, “Expel him.”


“He’s unteachable.”

The School Superintendent said, “Mike, hold out your hands.”


“Mike, those could be the hands of a surgeon.”

Today, Mike is one of the best surgeons in the country.


All he needed was encouragement.

And it transformed his life.


Everyone’s heard of Dwight L. Moody.

But did you know that creditors took everything his dad had, including the    



So Dwight L. Moody grew up poor and uneducated.

He was so uneducated he failed a test in his Church membership class.


Dwight L. Moody made a laity talk in his Church one day.

One of the Deacons said, “I think you could best serve God by remaining    

silent the rest of your life.”


But Dwight L. Moody wanted to do what he could for God.

And he became one of the greatest preachers the world has ever known.


During the Depression, Dr. Bert Siegel was a professor at Dallas Theological


The Seminary ran out of money.


They couldn’t pay his salary.

He decided to do what he could until things got better.


He taught for free.

He hired on as a janitor and maintenance man.


He cleaned bathrooms, emptied trash, washed windows and swept floors.

When things got better, he got back on the Seminary payroll.


Understand this.

Satan is doing all he can to keep us from doing all we can.


But he won’t succeed unless we let him.

God is on our side.


And if we will do all we can, God will do the rest.


Hymn suggestion = God Will Take Care of You