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Disciple Who Did What She Could

3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a] and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you,[b] and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Mark 14:3-9

(Mark 14:3-9) Jesus said, 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.

Arising out of self-pity, Sloth is indifference to God’s call to love and serve Him and others.

On the other hand, Fortitude is strength of character and spirit that empowers one to endure adversity with God-given courage and purpose.

On October 26, 2020, in the midst of COVID and civil unrest in our nation, city officials unveiled a beautiful bronze statue of Jennie Dean on the grounds of the former Manassas Industrial School. The former slave, visionary and educator leans forward, offering her hand.

Like Mary, whose daring fortitude the Lord Jesus commended, Jennie is one who did what she could. After the civil war, she became a domestic laborer in D.C. God instilled in Jennie the fortitude to do her part to oppose poverty and other social ills of the day. She helped form faith in many children, starting Sunday schools and helping plant churches in the Manassas area.

But there was more. God gave Jennie the vision to found a residential school. The Manassas Industrial School would offer not only liberal arts and job skills, but would build core values of faith, discipline, hard work, and proven character.

Through many challenges, God connected Jennie with other people seeking to make a difference: those in the women’s suffrage movement, prominent publishers, visionaries and philanthropists like Andrew Carnegie. By faith, Jennie did what she could.

What can we do when slothful sins of indifference, self-pity and disobedience tempt us to shirk God’s call? Remember Mary, who dared to offer a costly sacrifice. Call to mind Jennie Dean. Ask for renewed fortitude, for strength of character and courage from God to do our part to oppose evil, injustice and oppression for the greater good.

Look with faith to the Lord Jesus, Who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross. … (Hebrews12:1-3) Call on Jesus, our fortitude. He will empower us to live out our calling —-to do what we can.

About Pat B. Tony Retired United Methodist pastor Pat B. Tony is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ whose heart’s desire is to influence others to trust and follow Him in discipleship. Pat and her husband Dean enjoy one granddaughter Natalie (6-year-old daughter of Julie and her husband Chris). They also appreciate working with international students, trail walking and serving wherever the Lord leads.

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