Fishers UMC Blog

“Thank You” The Oil Can of Living

Recently I have seen 2 commercials for the same company [can’t remember the product – guess that wouldn’t please the advertisers].  Both ads feature a conversation between 2 people that begins to go terribly wrong.  In one, a woman confronts her “boyfriend” at dinner in a fancy restaurant about his fear of commitment after their long dating relationship and wants to know if he will ever propose.  In the other, two women are chatting while inspecting melons in the produce aisle of the grocery store.  Woman #1 asks woman #2 when the baby is due to which the second replies, “What baby?”  Both the man in the first ad and Woman #1 in the second ad panic and then try to deflect the woundedness of the person to whom he/she was speaking by saying hesitantly, “……Thank You?”  After a moment of real bafflement and confusion both the young woman in the restaurant and woman #2 in the grocery story become emotional – overwhelmed that someone was thanking them for something – for anything!  The hurt and frustration just seconds earlier are replaced by smiles and tears of appreciation……..

The scenes are laughable, to be sure.  If only it were that easy to get out of a jam when confronted or to remove one’s foot from one’s mouth!  [Been there, done that and I never got away that easily!]  For me, the ads worked in that the message was the power of gratitude and the company paying for the ad was saying “Thank You” to its customers [now if only I could remember who was thanking me and for using what product].

But there is a point to be made here, I think.  We live in a “grace-less” age where people see people as objects and the graciousness of civility is being lost, let alone the ability to value one another.  People are so hungry for validation and affirmation that even something as simple as a “Thank You” really can move them to tears.  As this hunger goes on unfulfilled we often respond negatively – some withdraw into a self-imposed loneliness believing we are not accepted and, we think, rightly so for we are not worthy of acceptance and affirmation; others become ill-tempered and lash out at those around them.  Neither response allows for health and wholeness needed for real redemptive community.  So what do we do about it?

There was an old man who went around carrying an oil can, and whenever he went through a door that creaked, he would pour a little oil on the hinges.  If a gate was hard to open, he oiled the latch.  It seemed that it was his mission in life to take the squeak and squawk out of things, and to make it a little easier for those who came after him.  People called him eccentric, of course.  They said he was more than a little batty.  But he went merrily on, refilling his oil can when it became empty, and oiling the hard places in life. 

You know, there really are hard places in life.  We come upon them unexpectedly – in fact, one or more of you reading this article is in the middle of one right now – the hinges are groaning and the latches are nearly frozen with rust.  When we find ourselves, or come upon others, in a situation like that what we need is a little lubrication with what Isaiah calls in chapter 61, verse 4 the oil of joy or gladness.  Take minute to read Isaiah 61:1-4 – it is the scripture Jesus read in the synagogue as his call to ministry: 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me for He has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives; and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord….To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning; the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness…that He [the Lord] may be glorified.”

As we come upon the season of Thanksgiving what is God calling you to be about in your relationships?  For the next 24 hours try to really see the people around you – are they weary? Worn? Sad? Lonely? Isolated?  Ill-tempered?  Can you hear their hinges creaking or see them struggling against frozen latches?  What can you do about it?  What will you do about it?  Maybe something as simple as…..“Thank You.”

… where did I put my oil can?

For The Only Cause That Matters,
Kevin McKinney
Sr. Pastor
Posted by Kevin McKinney with

A Princess

Have you ever had any conversations that seem to stick in your brain long after you have had them?  Either because it was a last conversation with someone, or a special moment, or because it was just so weird?  I have a few keeping space in my cranium, but one particularly keeps popping up for me lately. 

To give you some backstory, our Daughter, who is almost 3 (where does the time go??) is in love with Disney princesses (actually all things Disney).  Most people that know me and my husband, know that we are big time Disney fans. However, we made it a point to not let this influence our Daughter.  We did not push or even show her Disney things because we wanted it to be something she loved on her own, and Hallelujah, she not only started to have an interest in them, but has become quite the little Disney officiando.  I think we are to the point where, quite honestly, she thinks she is a Disney princess herself.  

Our little red head runs around the house in Princess attire (including gloves, wigs and shoes), curtsying, walking regally down the stairs, dancing with Prince Daddy and exclaiming “I a Disney Princess”.  It really is quite cute and magical to see a toddler so excited and filled with so much joy! 

So with all this Princess-ness going on around us, my brain keeps going back to a conversation I witnessed between an acquaintance and their daughter several years back, way before we had our little one.  The daughter who was about 6 at the time was playing with something princess related (forgive me, I can’t remember what), and said something like “Daddy, maybe I will be a princess when I grow up!” To which the Father responded, “The likelihood of you being a princess in real life is about 0% so you shouldn’t even pretend to be something you aren’t ever going to be.”

Wow.  Did I really just hear that?  I was shocked, stunned and saddened for a variety of reasons.  And because I am not gifted with coming up with quick remarks on the fly (it sometimes takes hours, days or even weeks to get thoughts out of my brain into words that reflect what I am really feeling) I froze.  I was reeling from what I had heard and could not get any words to come out, at all.  To this day, I regret not saying something, and having a lot of time to reflect and now recently because my daughter is so into princesses, I guess I feel the need to say what I should have said all those years ago.

So…. to the girl that is probably around 14 now: You ARE a princess, a daughter of the most righteous and sovereign King and Lord!  Because you a precious child of God, in Him you are royalty.  Although you may never be a princess over a kingdom and live in a large castle, know that because God loves you so much, He sacrificed himself for you and promises that you will live in Eternity with Him in Heaven! (Which, by the way, sounds like it is going to be WAY more awesome than any earthly kingdom or castle!)

Did you know you are a princess or prince of God? 

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. John 1: 12-13 (NLT)

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9 (NLT)

Lorie Richards
Multi-Media Coordinator
Posted by Lorie Richards with

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