Thursday, March 12, 2020

Oiled Down - Martin Wiles

Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5:14 NLT

Our middle grandson didn’t know it, but he was about to get oiled down—and not with lotion.

We struggled financially, so my wife and middle grandson—three at the time—were on their way downtown in search of help to stock our food pantry. Colton had already fallen once and skinned one knee, and on the way into the building, he fell again, skinning the other. This brought on tears and whining, both of which followed them inside.

As Michelle and Colton waited for assistance, an older lady in the next room witnessed about her love for Jesus, preaching to all who would listen—and to all who didn’t want to. When she heard Colton crying, she headed to help. Colton wanted a Band-Aid. Pulling out her “church bag,” she searched, but came up empty.

What she did have—and what she told Colton would help heal him, with the help of Jesus, of course—was a small container of oil. My wife, coming from a church tradition that used this frequently, knew what the lady was going to do. But instead of just a drop, the concerned lady lathered Colton’s knees with oil and said, “Jesus is going to heal you.”

Colton, not understanding what she did, merely said, “I want a Band-Aid”—which the helpful lady preceded to go into the backroom and retrieve.

Churches may debate the efficacy of oil—and on whom to use it—but James simply says when someone is sick that they should call the elders of the church and let them anoint and pray over the sick person. This woman couldn’t call the elders, but she could anoint and pray—which she did.

Beyond the debate of healing and using oil is a deeper issue: love. The elders coming, anointing, and praying are symbols of love and concern for someone who is sick physically—and perhaps spiritually. As the woman was for my grandson.

Whether or not we actually anoint people with oil is beside the point. We can lather them with kindness, love, mercy, and grace. The same qualities God rubs all over us daily. When we ask God for opportunities to do so, He’ll provide them. Oiling down others’ lives enhances our appreciation to God, and it has the potential to change someone’s life forever.

Tell God you want to oil others down in His name and watch what He does.

Prayer: Father, use us to pour and rub the oil of love and kindness into others’ lives.

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