“Her lamp does not go out at night…” (Proverbs 31:18 NIV).
Friend To Friend
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 and 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 its 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 to 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 constant. 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 first. Their childhood goes by so quickly yet we can never turn back the clock as this poem expresses.
My hands were busy through the day.
I didn’t have much time to play
The little games you asked me to,
I didn’t have much time for you.
I’d wash your clothes.
I’d sew and cook,
But when you’d bring your picture book
And asked me please to share your fun,
I’d say, “A little later son.”
I’d tuck you in all safe at night
And hear your prayers, turn out the light,
Then tiptoe softly to the door…
I wish I’d stayed a minute more.
For life is short, the years rush past.
A little boy grows up so fast.
No longer is he at your side,
His precious secrets to confide.
The picture books are put away,
There are no longer games to play.
No good-night kisses, no prayers to hear,
That all belongs to yesteryear.
My hands once busy now are still
The days are long and hard to fill.
I wish I could go back and do
The little things you asked me to.
Dear Lord, Thank You for this family that You have given me. I pray that I will be careful to take care of their needs before the needs of others who scream for my attention. Help me to be a woman with a balanced life- God first, husband second, children third.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Have you ever run out of oil? Out of strength? Out of energy?
That’s a silly question! We all have!
In the Bible, God compares the Holy Spirit to oil. What does Ephesians 5:18 say about the Holy Spirit in our lives?
What source of fuel does Christ promise us in Acts 1:8?
Which statement best describes your life?
I am burning my light like a candle that consumes itself.
I am burning like an oil lamp fueled by an endless supply of the Holy Spirit’s power.
Write a prayer asking God to fuel you with the Holy Spirit’s power today.
More From The Girlfriends
If you are a mom who needs some encouragement today, you’ll want to read