The Ready, The Willing, The Able (Are You?)
If we were to search for explanations for the words used in the title of this message, we would find many. To give you examples, I would like to call your attention to some that we have found:
Ready: Immediately available (as if to say someone had ready cash)
Willing: Inclined or favorably disposed in mind (as if to say willing and eager to help) or prompt to act or respond (as if to say lending a willing hand)
Able: Having sufficient power, skill, or resources to accomplish an object
There are countless other definitions to describe these words but, the ones we have listed are relevant to the Word we are sharing today.
As we look at Chapter 14 of Mark’s Gospel, we see that Jesus’ time on earth is nearing its end and Jesus had made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The Feast of the Passover is underway and we find, at the beginning of this Chapter, that the Chief Priests and Scribes are also we underway with their plot to kill our Lord and Savior.
1After two days was [the feast of] the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put [him] to death.
Now we find Jesus in the town of Bethany, specifically in the house of Simon the leper. As He sat to dine as a guest in the home, The Bible says that a woman came into the home with an alabaster box of ointment of Spikenard (An herb that is used as one of the eleven herbs for the incense in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem). She then proceeds to break the box and anoint the head of Jesus much to the chagrin of the Disciples.
4And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?
5For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
Jesus, as always and in his infinite wisdom replied to them, “Leave her alone. Why are you troubling her?” What is resident in this word is not in the fact that this particular box of alabaster may have been a family heirloom, or that even the contents of the box could have been sold for a large price of which could have benefited the poor. The residence here is that there was a great work that needed to be done and this woman was READY, WILLING and ABLE to do it.
We, as Christians, need to be ready, willing, and able to do works; great or small when we are able to do them. There will come a time, as we endeavor on life’s tedious journey, when our abilities and talents, skills and knowledge, will be required of us in order for us to be a blessing to others. Even though Mary may not have been invited to the dinner, even though folks looked at her as if she had committed some kind of financial mistake, and even though they talked and murmured behind her back, Mary did what needed to be done when the time came and didn’t ask for permission nor did she see approval from those that witnessed the event. When we are doing the work of the Lord, and when we are being a blessing to those that are in need of a blessing, we need not worry about what’s going around us or be concerned with the chaos that we may create. When you are doing the work of the Lord, He sees that it is a great work and will step in right on time to say to those naysayers, “STOP!! Leave them alone.
We must be ready to do good works for the Lord and to do them when the time comes but, in addition to being ready, we must also be willing. Mary could have easily given the box of alabaster to her sister and requested that she take care of it but, Mary was willing to anoint the head of Jesus not for recognition, not for fame and it certainly was not to get a “pat on the back”. We have many “church folk” that WILL do something:
When their name is on the program
When people can see their name in the paper
When they are head of the committee
When they can be seen next to the Pastor
All of these church folk will do something but none of them are WILLING to do it unless there’s a cost involved. Mary was WILLING to do a good work because she witnessed Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. That’s right. He came in like a King. The normal custom at that time was to anoint the forehead with just a dab of oil but when the King came to the house, Mary was willing give all that she had and do all that she could. The bottom line is that when it comes to doing the work of the Master we have to be WILLING to give all that we have so that GOD can get ALL of the glory.
We must be ready to do good works for the Lord When the time comes. We must also be willing to do these works so that God can get the glory. But we also have to be ABLE to get the job done and that is not without the Power of the Holy Ghost. Mary knew what she was doing when she anointed Jesus’ head with oil but she would have never known what to do unless the Holy Spirit got involved. When we are ready to work for the Master, when we are willing to do the good works, and when we are able to give God all of the glory that he so deserves, it is then that we are in a position to be the most like The Greatest Servant. The Greatest Servant:
Was willing to come down because man had turned away from God
Was willing to be born of a virgin
Was willing to cast out demons, turn the hem of His Garment into a drugstore, and raise dead men from their grave.
Was ready to give His life so that we would have life and have it more abundantly
And he was able to get up on Easter Sunday morning with ALL POWER IN HIS HANDS
When we are more like the Greatest Servant we can then say just as the songwriter said:
When I’ve done the best I can
When my friends don’t understand
When the works I’ve done may seem so small
That sometimes it seems like, seems like nothing at all
But when I stand before my God
I want to hear him say well done
May the works I’ve done speak for me