Make your ounces count

Rev David Clarke
Rev David Clarke

In a little cemetery in the Southern States of America, there is a sign referring to the soldiers of the Confederate army who fell during the Civil War and whose remains rest there.

The sign reads, ‘Who they were no one knows, what they were everyone knows.’

The same tribute could be applied to a woman who interrupted a private dinner party in Bethany, and poured precious ointment on the head of Jesus(see Mark 14; 3-11).

No one knows her name, yet as Jesus predicted, her action will always be remembered.

It was a lavish act of devotion, which Jesus interpreted as a preparation for the trials which would soon befall him.

The perfume could have been sold for a year’s wages, and had she thought about the value of the gift, or the surly objections which some people might make to her kind gesture, she might not have acted as she did.

Besides, she might have said to herself, ‘Others have better opportunities than I to minister to his needs.’

Instead, she pressed ahead, doing what she could.

Though we may boast about democracy, many still harbour the suspicion, ‘How can one person make any difference?’

Yet there are ample illustrations of what one individual can do.

Consider the following facts:

* When Oliver Cromwell was named Lord Protector of Great Britain and Ireland by the House of Commons, the vote was 91-90

* When King Charles I was tried for treason in 1649, his judges voted for his execution by a margin of 68-67.

* When Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr contested the American Presidential election in 1800, they received an identical number of votes in the electoral college. The American Congress appointed Jefferson as President by a majority of one.

One individual can make a profound difference.

A poet by the name of Bonaro Overstreet struck that note in lines, which are highly appropriate in this week of election;

‘You say the little efforts that I make / will do no good;/they never will prevail/ to tip the hovering scale/ where justice hangs in balance.

I don’t think/I ever thought they would/ But I am prejudiced beyond debate/ in favour of my right to choose which side/ shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight.