Pastor Brent Coley took his sermon idea from Mark 14:8 speaking of Mary of Bethany, “She hath done what she could.” He applied those words to the life of his grandfather, Jesse Coley, as he preached his funeral. Jesse will probably not be mentioned in any church history book, but he did what he could. He was not a great preacher, but he did what he could, and he made a difference. Thousands of people around the world have read God’s Word because Jesse did what he could.
Jesse lived eighty-nine years. The first fifty-four, he lived without God. He was an Illinois farmer and truck driver. But when he climbed off the tractor and began serving God, he never looked back. He did what he could in his church. When he had opportunity to help smuggle Bibles behind the Iron Curtain, he went. He met Dr. Don Fraser, founder of the Bearing Precious Seed ministry, and Brother Fraser’s burden became Jesse’s. He spent the rest of his life doing what he could to get God’s Word to the mission field.
Jesse met Maggie Brown in El Paso, Texas, and they fell in love and were married. From then on it was Jesse and Maggie, Bearing Precious Seed missionaries. Together they did what they could. They worked in the Philippines and traveled to Russia. For the most part, however, they worked with Don Fraser in Bowie, Texas. When Brother Fraser was no longer able to actively work, Jesse took over the ministry. He was not a printer, but he did what he could. He made covers for John-Romans booklets on a copy machine. Maggie stapled them, and he trimmed them. They recruited local volunteers, and together they all did what they could. When the Coley’s health began to fail, they moved the ministry to their grandson’s church in Kentucky and traveled there to help until age and bad health precluded it. But they continued to do what they could; they could still pray and give. During the early morning hours of February 10, 2012, Jesse asked Maggie and Wanda, his daughter-in-law, “Who is that guy over there by the door? [They didn’t see anyone.] The guy dressed in white; what does he want?” Then Jesse Coley simply departed and by the grace of God went to Heaven!
What is there that I can do? God requires nothing more from me than that. What more could I ask at the end of my life than for people to say of me, “He did what he could,” and arrive in Heaven and hear my Saviour say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”