I’m sitting at the car dealership, waiting while they perform an oil change on my car. And I figured, since I have an hour or so to hang around and the place has free Wi-Fi, I’ll send out a little encouragement to all of you.
And, as I pondered what to write tonight, the thought of oil came to mind.
Of course, oil in the Bible is nothing like the petroleum-based stuff they’re putting in my engine. (At least it better not be. EVOO makes a great salad dressing, but does it protect the valves in my engine like 5W30?)
Olive oil was originally used by shepherds to keep bugs from getting in their sheep’s ears. They would pour it over the animals’ heads, making a surface too slippery for bugs to climb. In doing so, shepherds were protecting – even saving – their flock.
This is the origin of anointing, the act of applying oil on one’s head as a sign of God’s blessing. When we accept Christ as our Savior, we essentially are anointed. The Holy Spirit – Who is symbolized by oil – indwells us, inspires us, comforts us, guides us, strengthens us, intercedes for us…
But oil is also important in Scripture as a source of light (just like Jesus, Who is the Light of the World). It is important that we don’t let our oil run out. How can we be salt and light if our lamps have no oil?
Consider Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish virgins:
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” – Matthew 25:1-12 (ESV)
Why did the five foolish virgins miss the bridegroom? They weren’t prepared. They brought no oil for their lamps.
They were facing an oil crisis.
When we are overly busy, overly stressed, overly worried, overly preoccupied, overly anxious… We can easily let our lamps run low on oil. So low, in fact, that we may not be able to easily get our lamp relit. Without the Light, we miss the blessings of God. We view our struggles as disasters instead of what God can do with them. We can’t see the Lord working in and through our pain, our troubles, our trials.
Keeping our oil level right is vital – in our vehicles as well as our lives. Stay focused on Jesus. Rest in the Holy Spirit. Trust God at all times and in all things. Don’t let your lamp run dry. Let it shine the light of the Lord on this dark world. Be a beacon of love, peace and joy in the Lord!
Hmmm…. now that I think about, I understand why the exhaust from my car smells like a Caesar Salad.