So I’ve been going through a pretty difficult time of depression over these last few months, worse than it’s ever been actually. I had to step back from my job even. And while I’ve gotten some encouraging emails and coffee times with friends, one of the things that has sustained me throughout this time is a little comment Jesus makes in Mark’s Gospel, that jumped out at me as I was reading through the book. I keep going back to it in my mind, repeating it to myself, reminding myself. Here’s the passage it comes from:
“And while [Jesus] was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” (Mark 14:3-9)
Sometimes the needs in the world can seem so overwhelming, and we think “what can I do? What difference can I make?” On top of that, media & social media both tell us that we must do grand acts – help rebuild an earthquake-devastated village or cycle across the country to raise funds for a charity or things like that – in order to do something worthwhile or to be counted as anything.
But Jesus’ words here give me great comfort – while I cannot easily do grand and elaborate acts to help the world, I can do small and simple ones right here, right around me, and with what abilities and resources I already have.
And when I’m going through a season of depression, even the smallest act – taking a shower, for example, can take an enormous amount of will-power (those of you who’ve experienced the black dog know what I’m talking about). But it helps. And writing & reading helps. And prayer helps. And I try to do these in his strength.
“Whatever you did to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40). It doesn’t matter how small or mundane our acts are; it doesn’t matter how we’re feeling or what we’re going through; Jesus knows what we can do with where we are and what we have, and he accepts it as worship. And more than that even, he accepts it as done to him himself. Even small (by the world’s standards) and mundane things are holy.