We wonder if doing what we do is enough. The world already has us worrying if we are enough or being enough.
In considering how our work may seem to be a meagre offering, we can become decidedly discouraged, caught up in comparison or snared by jealousy.
Writers can easily become trapped like this. We feel judged on our latest blog post/article/book and how well or otherwise it seems to be received.
And in failing to appreciate the originality of our own offering, the answer appears to be to produce more, write more, speak more, have a larger platform to be seen on.
Along the way we can lose sight of our God-given calling, fail to see our worth and value in God’s eyes.
[bctt tweet=”Because we are all called for a specific God-given purpose, gifted with unique opportunities”]
Your work, ability, audience and reach will look very different from mine. And that’s okay. We’re not meant to be carbon copies of one another.
Maybe we just need to see and be reminded that we are here for such a time as this.
We each have a personal divine assignment and are given grace for the mantle on our lives alone, not those of others.
I always saw the extravagant act of love which Mary performed in lavishing her alabaster jar of pure nard on Jesus as something impossible to emulate.
It felt far removed from my style of relating to God and way out of my comfort zone, even as I yearn to have a heart willing to spill its all on Him.
I’ve previously written about how Mary spent herself for Jesus’ sake, pouring out her heart so lovingly. But what I missed before in the biblical account was the words Jesus said here – (my emphasis added):
“She did what she could when she could – she pre-anointed my body for burial” – Mark 14:8 The Message
Mary had a surrendered spirit; she gave herself unreservedly to Jesus – heart, will, mind and all. Most of us won’t be required to do all that she did when her actions became sealed into Scripture.
Yet we can be encouraged by Jesus seeing her deed as “she did what she could when she could”. That’s a freeing thought for us to take on board, isn’t it?
It doesn’t mean we live in a desultory, half-hearted manner. By no means. We still press for excellence in our attitudes and behaviour, aiming to be the best we can be by God’s grace.
But having done all we can do, we don’t have to worry if it’s enough for God. He takes our ordinary words, deeds and prayers and multiplies them at His hands into extraordinary.
All God asks is that we act from a place of love, give as freely and willingly as we are able.
We can rest in giving our apparently limited little offering as an act of love and compassion for others, and as an act of love and obedience to God. Especially when we give from a heart and life willingly surrendered to Him.
We don’t have to compare or keep a tally of what others are doing. We are free to be who God created us to be.
[bctt tweet=”When we see our true worth and value in Christ, we are enabled to live with open hands and hearts”]
We can delight in giving our seemingly small offerings, because who knows what God will do with them? Each crumb can be a manna moment in the life of another. Each word and prayer can impact a life for Jesus.
Today’s post has been inspired by reading the newly released book: ‘Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Makes You Worthy’ by Mary Demuth. It has impacted me tremendously and I’ll be writing more on this topic soon.
I am a Christian ministry leader who is struggling with “large” and the constant idea that I must do more. Do it better. Do it profoundly. Gain the approval of other Christian leaders. Write a jaw-dropping blog or Facebook post. I think you get what I am trying to say. Yet, I know I am truly happiest (perhaps God’s desire emerging) when I am doing the small, meaningful things that are not heavily planned or “out there” for all to see. I am so happy to read this posting and the other one on the small. Your blog was offered to me by Facebook and I’m so glad to have found you. My middle name is Joy and I have struggled all my life to live up to this name. Maybe struggled too hard, ironically, to be joyous. Back to basics – living the fruit of the Spirit, through Jesus, in an uncomplicated, small way. Thank you, Joy, for this beautiful, small ministry. I love the idea of doing what I can do and Jesus being so happy with that.
Peace and grace
Hello Judy. It’s lovely to meet you! I can truly identify with the thoughts we often buy into when we feel ‘less than’. But our hearts usually bear witness that striving in the flesh won’t necessarily produce the results we think we need. The world applauds ‘large’ and ‘better’ and ‘more’. It can feel counter-cultural to go against those things. I love how you speak of being “truly happiest” when you are “doing the small, meaningful things that are not heavily planned or ‘out there’ for all to see.” Hang on to that feeling! I’m so pleased you stopped by. Please feel free to make yourself at home in the archives or consider subscribing to receive new posts. Bless you for your kind encouragement, friend. May you also discover peace and grace in life’s small places.
My sweet friend! I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that this message has come from your heart, because you have received it’s truth! You are such a blessing and an inspiration, sweet, JOY!
June, it’s been a long time coming, hasn’t it?! Maybe I had to have several months of dark struggle in order to see and sense God at work in the tiny corners of my days. One of the hardest things to cope with as a person with M.E has been that of feeling invisible because I cannot ‘do’ like healthier people can. God has been teaching me that my ‘who’ (who I am in Christ) far outweighs my ‘do’ (largely works of the flesh) and that I am loved and precious to Him even while chained to earth, rooted to bed, pressed down with pain and made weak with illness. We don’t have to do more. We simply have to ‘be’ all He calls us to be by His grace. If I’ve helped inspire you, dear friend, then I am truly thankful. These lessons have taken longer to learn than I would have liked, but at last I am beginning to ‘get’ it! Bless you for your kind and loving heart. Xx
What a timely post for me Joy. As I continue to listen to updates on the fires to the north of me and the evacuees (80,000) coming and already in my city, I feel I am not doing enough. I hear of stories, of BIG stories of what others are doing while I have been asked to ….pray. And that doesn’t seem like enough. And giving money, buying extra food for the Food Bank seem like such small ‘back door’ gestures of generosity. But who is to be glorified in this? God only, not me with my ego just wanting to be more than He is calling me too, at this time. So, I am learning to wait, to be the soldier God has called me to be, ready to be dispatched on His orders. Thanks for this piece!
Oh Lynn, what a burden you have been needlessly carrying! You have been trusted with a task that few can do. Prayer is hard work. It’s heavy duty warfare, patient endurance and persistence. It’s being in the enemy’s firing line. To intercede on behalf of others is a huge gift of grace. God is greatly glorified by your faithful obedience, my friend. He bends an ear to hear your requests. Heaven listens, responds and rejoices over each victory won. How awesome is that? Hold your head high. You’re an ambassador for the King of kings. You’re a means whereby heaven touches earth and lives are saved. Be glad to have such a mantle on your shoulders. Praying for you as you take up the needs of others. May God greatly bless you in this work. Xx
Thank you for these words, Joy. You are such a beautiful encouragement to me. I love how God spoke to you through that Scripture to release us all from an unnecessary burden. It’s one I’m going to have to come back to. This is such a beautiful thought: “But having done all we can do, we don’t have to worry if it’s enough for God. He takes our ordinary words, deeds and prayers and multiplies them at His hands into extraordinary.” I thank God for you.
Anna, I was glad to have my eyes opened anew to the words of that passage in a new translation. Rather as I have been in reading lots of lovely Scripture quotes from The Message Bible in your beautiful book! And I am more than grateful to be given words to share that can help encourage others on their faith journey. I thank God for you too, for having ‘met’ you in cyberspace and have the privilege of being a companion-friend-helper on your book launch team. Xx
Thank you for pointing out that verse, Joy. “She did what she could when she could…” It encourages me, too. It is discouraging sometimes when we look at what others do and feel like we fall short. It seems I have to constantly remind myself to be more concerned about being than doing. I love the answer you gave Lynn about prayer. That encouraged me, too. I so easily forget that “to intercede on behalf of others is a huge gift of grace.” Blessings and hugs to you, my friend! Have a rest-filled weekend in every way!
Trudy, I need this reminder too! God usually gives me words that I should pay attention to; rarely are they there just for others. Maybe that way, we write from a place of greater authenticity and vulnerability because we are still learning and growing in our faith. Whenever I visit your site I see a woman who is real, open and honest about her struggles, and so eager to reveal the One who holds her together in her brokenness. You are a true hope-bringer and your blog is definitely a safe, restful harbour for hurting souls. God works mightily through you. I hope you know just how much He loves you too. Happy Mother’s Day weekend! 🙂 x
Great post, Joy. It is so easy to compare ourselves to others and to feel that we don’t measure up and to forget that God made us to be different from one another. Comparison just distracts us from focussing on God and doing what he wants us to do. It reminds me of the story of the widow who brought two little coins to the Temple. What she had to offer seemed like nothing compared to what others were giving but Jesus saw her heart and her circumstances and her gift was something valuable and beautiful to him.
Our heart attitude is the key thing, isn’t it, Carly? Jesus sees what motivates our drives, desires and deeds. And because He looks at the heart, rather than focussing on external appearances, we can focus most on aiming to be pleasing to Him. He knows how we tick and what we are capable of. I love that you shared the story of the widow’s mite. It’s a huge encouragement to us whenever we feel our offering is too small. Thank you so much for adding your insights to the conversation here. I appreciate you being part of this community. Bless you, friend.
So the book is out! If it’s inspired you so deeply, I’ll definitely be taking a closer look at it! I especially loved your words: “He takes our ordinary words, deeds and prayers and multiplies them at His hands into extraordinary.” Yes! I don’t have to wonder if what I do is enough! He takes my offering and uses it for His glory. Thankful you shared this today! Blessings!
Yes, Mary’s book is out! I’ve been blessed to be on the launch team and can highly recommend it. You’ll love it, Carrie. Mary writes from a place of openness and vulnerability, as a ‘work in progress’ in this area, just like so many of us. She weaves her story throughout and shares the biblical insights that have shaped her thinking. I can see myself needing to dip into it frequently. In future posts I hope to write about how the book has impacted me personally, and maybe share my review. Blessed to see you here today, my friend. Have a lovely Mother’s Day! 🙂 x