Do What You Can Do
John Grisham could not, in my opinion, tell a better story than my mother. She immensely enjoyed telling her childhood memories and stories. With eyes sparkling she would mention her father, my Papa Cleve, and how kind and good he was to his family. I never met him in person. He passed away many years before I was born. But I felt as though I knew him because of the strories released from my Mother's voice. I saw the impact his patience and love had on his eldest daughter, my mother. She taught me things her daddy taught her. Two standing out the most in my life were "Learn from everything, every day" and "Learn especially from your mistakes."
Although my mother did not complete a formal education, she was full of wisdom. I admired her hunger and thirst for knowledge. An avid reader she loved to share what she had learned. What good is knowledge that you never share? My mother and I would engage in lengthy discussions. Conversations filled with modern ideas and bold issues would erupt as we sat at the kitchen table, while she helped me with my school work.
Jesus Himself was a master teacher. He used parables to teach Biblical concepts. And by using parables, Jesus spoke in such a way that all intellectual levels could understand and relate. A parable is defined as: “a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.” Another definition is: “a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy, or the like.”
Oh that our modern day parents would adhere to this type of priceless teaching. The internet, Google, Wikapedia, or any such, can never take the place of a loving mother (or father) teaching their child from personal life experience. Especially those moms and dads who rely on the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ and His Word to guide them in daily life.
Sometimes as parents we feel so overwhelmed by not knowing exactly what to teach our children, because there are so many different opinions screaming for attention. Once upon a time America was noticably a Christian nation, but now there is a plethora of different religions. And they all claim to be “the one.” I believe what Jesus said in John 14:6…“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
In Mark 14:1-9 NLT there is the story of Mary of Bethany. She was the woman who stirred controversy because of her extravagant love for Jesus. She poured not inexpensive olive oil, but very expensive oil costing a year’s salary on her Savior. Some of the men present were indignant and down right upset because of what she had done. They felt her act of worship was a waste. Feeling she had squandered what could have been used for a better purpose, like feeding the poor, they rebuked her. So they scolded her harshly and most likely thought Jesus would agree with them. But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her…You will have the poor among you always…But you will not always have me…She has done what she could…this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.” This woman chose to do what she could do with what she had to offer.
Instead of being discouraged and doing nothing, she gave all. What if we followed her example? Instead of feeling defeated before we begin, paralyzed by fear, can’t see the way clear, let’s focus on these five words. “Do what you can do.” Everyone in that room probably loved Jesus. Each one of them if given opportunity would have shown Him love, but each would have offered it in a different way. Why must we focus on our differences, when we have so many similarities? Just like now, the most important thing was not the oil, the cost of the oil, Mary of Bethany, or all the men in the room, the focus was Jesus. “Do what you can do.”
In today’s world, we put so much emphasis on things. The cost of things, the labels on clothing, the size of the house, the year and make of the car, which political party we belong to, our circle of friends and the list goes on. When in reality as Christians, our focus should be on Jesus and His imminent return. He is coming back one day to rapture the church and those who are not ready for His appearing will be left behind. Prioritize your priorities. Put Jesus first and everything else will fall in place. Luke 12:31 NLT says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and He will give you everything you need.”
The return of Christ for His church should not cause us concern, but jubilation. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18KJV reminds us, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Chris shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Pass on what you have learned and teach what you have been taught. Quality time spent with our children, (not electronics and not necessarily money spent) helps shape and guide. Teaching what we have been taught by our Father in heaven trains them in the way they should go.
“Do what you can do.”
Do what you can do and put it into practice. Set aside thirty minutes or an hour each evening when your family turns off their electronics and puts them in a basket. Use this time to do something that very few families do these days…TALK to each other. Discuss your day. Tell your children stories from your childhood. Talk about their heritage, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles. Plan your next vacation together. Read a Scripture and pray over your children. A prayer does not need to be lengthy. You do not have to sound like a great orator. Start simple. Speak from the heart. Confess the promises in God's word.
Pastor Adrian Rogers says, “The same Jesus Who turned water into wine can transform your home, your life, your family, and your future. He is still in the miracle-working business, and His business is the business of transformation.”
Fight for the souls of your children. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Does that mean your child will not rebel at some point? No. Does that mean your child will always be a Christian? No. I believe it means when you “train up your child in the way that he should go,” the truth is tattooed on his heart, meaning it will always remain there. The truth can not be unheard, nor banished from the heart. No matter where his feet may take him, his heart will know the right way he should be going. And when he lays his head upon his pillow, that truth will tug at his heart and urge him to walk in the truth that has been taught him. Just “do what you can do” and God will do the rest!
What my mother taught me years ago continues to impact my life and the life of my children. Teach what you have been taught, "Do what you can do" and start today!
By LaQuetta D. Brand
June 29, 2017