My hubby and his visiting friend were remembering the times when they did their school homework by the light of an oil lamp. Both had as one of their responsibilities (yes, in those days kids did chores) of ensuring the lamps were ready for use each day before nightfall. They both came from farming families, living outside of town where there was no electricity, so they depended on lamps.
To keep them working efficiently, it was essential to keep the wicks trimmed in order to spread the flame evenly and to keep the globes clean to allow a clear and bright light. Then, of course, the lamp also needed fuel – fuel in a clean, dry container.
Jesus used an oil lamp in His parable of the ten virgins [Matthew 25:1-13]
The lamps were different then, and Jesus was using the parable for a specific reason, but it is obvious that if the lamp has no oil there will be NO light.
The more modern oil lamp has more lessons for us.
If we are to emit steady, unobstructed light – the light of Christ within us –
we need to pay attention to “trimming the wicks” and “cleaning the globes”
That is, we need to remove all impurities which obstruct that Light.
If the oil in the lamp was contaminated by dirt or water,
the light would splutter and go out.
The “oil” in our lamps is the Holy Spirit,
but if we prevent His working by having “self” in our vessel,
the light will be dimmed or even invisible.
Allowing self will, and any unconfessed sin to clog the life
will prevent a clear, pure light shining forth of the love of God to those we meet.
We must have (be) a clean vessel.
Oil lamps came in many shapes and sizes, for different uses; some plain and practical, some plainly attractive, some ornate. Some were more or less left in the one place, while others were designed to be carried by their handle. Some were evidently designed for ladies.
Did the attractive features of the lamp make them more efficient?
If the lamp was dirty or wet inside,
would the decorations make any difference?
Of course not!
As Christians, we are all different. We have different ministries.
Some are “out front” while others work just as hard behind the scenes,
while others seem to be constantly on the move.
And we praise God for the ones who are seldom noticed here,
but their earnest prayers are heard in heaven
and keep the front-line workers effective.
Words by Annie Johnson Flint:
His lamp am I, to shine where He shall say.
And as He wills, a flame to find,
Clear, shining through the night –
So bright, they do not see the lamp,
But only see the Light.
So may I shine – His Light the flame –
That men may glorify His name.
# I do not have to light the whole world, but I AM responsible to light MY PART of the world.
# Beauty is not in the face; beauty is the Light in the heart.