November 10, 2003
Encouragement for Today
Give Me Oil for My Lamp
“Be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18
Driving along the coast and coming upon a lighthouse is an inspiring sight. Even though the map marks where the landmarks are stationed, it still brings a thrill when each one comes into view. That’s how I feel when I see a mother nurturing her child. It is nothing new, this love of a mother for her offspring, but each time I see it, my heart takes a leap. Lighthouses, like mothers, share some common features, yet each one is beautiful and unique. Her light consistently burns bright, her stairs invite visitors to climb to greater heights, and her rough exterior remains impervious to the elements. But the most important feature is the oil in her lamp.
Recently, I stood looking at the Bodie Island lighthouse with its bold black and white horizontal stripes painted on the cement exterior. She is quite a flashy beacon, to say the least. Then I turned to look at the rough seas that were beating against the shore. I thought about the mariners who were so dependent on the lighthouse’s searching beam that would lead them safely to shore. What if she ran out of oil? What if she didn’t shine? The ships were relying on her to be prepared and well supplied with oil. Then I thought about my own life as a mother, “Suppose I ran out of oil, my light grew dim, or worse, burned out altogether. What would happen to my little fleet?”
The blessed mother in Proverbs 31:18 also had a lamp. Scripture says that “her lamp did not go out at night.” I used to read that verse and think, “Doesn’t this woman ever sleep!” But then I realized that it wasn’t so much about her staying awake all night, as it was about her lamp. She never let her oil run dry.
A lighthouse has one primary mission: to broadcast light so a mariner can see the shore. Likewise, a mother is a beacon that displays the light to guide her children through an ocean of choices. A mother’s light is Jesus Christ, and she can’t shine that light if her lamp runs dry. Ephesians 5:18 says, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit.” That “be filled” is a present tense, continuous verb. It means be filled daily and continually. And interestingly enough, many times in Scripture, the Holy Spirit is referred to as…you guessed it…oil!
How does a mother run out of oil? In Max Lucado’s book, Just Like Jesus, he tells a story that gives us a clue.
“A lighthouse keeper who worked on a rocky stretch of coastline received oil once a month to keep his light burning bright. Not being far from the village, he had frequent guests. One night a woman needed oil to keep her family warm. Another night a father needed oil for his lamp. Then another needed oil to lubricate a wheel. All the requests seemed legitimate, so the lighthouse keeper tried to meet them all. Toward the end of the month, however, he ran out of oil and his lighthouse went dark, causing several ships to crash on the coastline. The man was reproved by his superiors, ‘You were given the oil for one reason,’ they said, ‘to keep the light burning.’”
As mothers in the twenty-first century, we are tempted to meet every need that comes our way - and they are legion. But our primary job is to love the Lord, love our husbands, and nurture our children. All the other needs that scream for our attention, though they are noble, must wait until we take care of our families.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, Show me any areas of my life where I am using my “oil” unwisely and help me to have the courage to say “no” when necessary. Thank you for my family and thank you for the Holy Spirit that gives me the power to do all things that you have called me to do.
Look at your activities over the past three months. Are there some oil depleters that need to be delegated to someone else?
Look at how you’ve spent your time over the past three months. Have you allotted enough time alone with God for Him to fill you each and every day with a fresh dose of His Spirit?
What source of fuel does Christ promise us in Acts 1:8?
Why do you think Paul tells us to “be filled with the Holy Spirit” in Ephesians 5?
What adjustments can you make in your life that will enable you to be a beacon, illuminating your home with the glow of Christ?
What does Jesus call Himself in John 8:12?
What does Jesus call believers in Matthew 5:14?
John 14:15, 17 "If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—(NIV)
John 14: 25"All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (NIV)
Acts 1:5 “For John Baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. (NIV)
”Ephesians 1 13, 14 Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory. (NIV)
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV)
Wise Words for Moms by Ginger Plowman
Who Holds the Key to your Heart by Lysa Terkeurst
Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids by Sharon Jaynes
Originally published Monday, 10 November 2003.