Daily Riches: Just Do What You Can (Kathleen Norris)

“The verse [Mark 14:8] portrays Jesus defending a nameless woman against his outraged disciples; she has made an extravagant gesture, anointing him with expensive oil, and they feel that the money could have been better spent. When my brother’s church in Honolulu was celebrating the 101st birthday of one of its members, he asked the woman if she would care to name a favorite Bible verse. She cited the verse from Mark and said that it was one she had chosen to memorize as a child in Sunday school, and that all her life it had provided her with a word to live by. Jesus himself had given it, allowing her to hope that her faith, and whatever service she rendered the church, would not be in vain. When asked what it was about the verse that had so captured her attention as to hold it for over ninety years, she replied, ‘She did what she could.’” Kathleen Norris

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. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’ And they rebuked her harshly. Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ‘Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.'” Mark 14:3-8

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Have you wondered whether, in the end, your life will have been wasted or well-spent? …whether you could have done more?
  • Obviously, doing “what she could” was the most this woman could do, and Jesus heartily accepted that. Do you ever do less than you could because it doesn’t seem like much?
  • Do you ever do less than you could because it’s not as much as someone else can do?

Abba, may neither dreams of glory or comparison to others keep me from doing what I can.

For More: Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Limits of Patriotism (Thomas Keating, Parker Palmer and Os Guiness)

“This sort of spiritual discipline is a therapy for the tyranny of the false self … for our over-identification with family, nation, religion, or group. Of course we owe a measure of gratitude to our nation, religion, and family. But it is interesting that Jesus said that unless we hate our parents, we can’t be his disciples. By this he didn’t mean that we should not love and respect them and care for them in their old age, as commanded by the Fourth Commandment of the Torah, but that we should not have a naive loyalty to a particular group (even one’s family) that disregards injustices that need to be corrected.” Thomas Keating

“Our problem as Americans—at least, among my race and gender—is that we resist the very ideas of limits, regarding limits of all sorts as temporary and regrettable, impositions on our lives. Our national myth is about the endless defiance of limits…. We refuse to take no for an answer.” Parker Palmer

American Cultural Core Values: information, convenience, options, time maximization, comfort, feel good, independence, happiness, entertainment, instant gratification, skepticism, image, style, and control  –  Os Guiness

“…give back to Caesar
what is Caesar’s,
and to God
what is God’s.”
Jesus in Luke 20:25

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you loyal to any group (family, church, denomination, religion, political party, nation) in a naive, uncritical way? in a way that puts that group outside the reach of the prophetic voice of Scripture and its insistence on justice?
  • Does your gratitude for, or loyalty to, any of these groups allow you, or perhaps even cause you, to “disregard injustices that need to be corrected?”
  • Have you embraced our “national myth” as described by Parker Palmer? Can you see any weaknesses in that “mythology?”
  • How many of the “American Cultural Core Values” Os Guiness mentions do you embrace? Are you allowing your religious faith to critique these values? Take some time to consider that.

Abba, forgive my blindness, my careless assumptions and my cowardly silence. Help me to pledge uncritical allegiance and absolute loyalty to you alone – the God over all, and only savior.


For More: The Human Condition by Thomas Keating 


In “Daily Riches” my goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate it! –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)