Well, I should probably begin by establishing my credibility to deal with the subject of essential oils. From my earliest days growing up on a small family farm, I was familiar with the vital place that various oils occupied in our lives. Clearly, without certain oils, life could not go on normally. Some were designed for internal use, and others were designed for external uses. Some oils were medicinal, some had a nutritional quality, and some were simply to make things move smoother.
Of the medicinal oils, castor oil held the top spot on the priority list. Just the threat of having to swallow it would make you feel better. Camphor oil was great for fever blisters and to rub on mysterious rashes that nobody knew what else to do with, and cod liver oil was helpful for keeping the internal plumbing working.
More Essential Uses ~
When it came to nutrition, oil from melting down good ole’ lard was indispensable. We fried all kinds of stuff in it, and we used it in its solid form to make biscuits and other dietary necessities. Corn oil or other vegetable oil was often substituted if we ran out of lard. Then for things outside the house and not designed for human consumption, there was good ole’ 30 weight, high detergent motor oil. It kept the tractor running and was good for putting on almost anything that squeaked. My grandpa even poured some on our dog, Rex, when he got lice. There was a heavier weight gear oil, of course, that we put in the crankcase of manual transmissions and other gear housings. As I matured, other oils were added to my, like cooking oil that you can spray right out of a can! Who knew that would be coming down the road?!
So, when my daughter approached me about my need to incorporate “essential oils” in my life, I was way ahead of her. As I explained my extensive experience with all kinds of indispensable oils, including the many ways WD-40 had improved my life, she just looked at me. Hmmm….
A Different Kind of “Oil” ~
Forgive me for having a little fun with a term that is familiar to multitudes these days. “Essential oils” is a term representing a variety of products that many use every day. I have friends who subtly suggest that if I would only eat the right herbs, sniff some therapeutic weeds, or maybe rub some berry juice on my ear lobes, I’d be a kinder, gentler, calmer, healthier, happier, and more tolerable person. They might be right, but I really just mentioned essential oils in the hope of getting your attention. Now that I have it momentarily, I want to invite you to consider another kind of “oil” that Jesus talked about. The oil He taught about is more deserving of the designation “essential” than any product for sale anywhere.
Matthew relates a story (Matthew 25:1-13) involving oil that has a lesson with vital implications. Although oil played a central role in Jesus’ story, it was not a story about oil. A wedding and a group of bridesmaids were featured, but it was not a classic wedding story, either, so don’t look for a cinematic adaptation of it on the Hallmark Channel. Jesus was not teaching about wedding practices. He was teaching about the Kingdom of God that will be established on this earth, and the story highlights some critical elements to be aware of and our personal responsibility to be prepared.
His simple story involved ten bridesmaids who were participating in an evening wedding. In those days, the event would begin with the bride’s entourage gathering at her house where they would wait for the groom. After he arrived, he would lead her and her attendants back to his house for the concluding ceremony and the ensuing celebration. Among other things, the bridesmaids were in charge of the oil lamps that would illuminate the procession.
An Unpredictable Element ~
The wedding process was fairly predictable except for the groom’s arrival time. In Jesus’ story, five of the ten bridesmaids took extra oil in case the groom was late showing up. The other five tried to get by on the oil they had in their lamps. For some reason, the groom in Jesus’ story was really late. Perhaps he was having last minute wedding jitters, or a bad hair day. We only know that …while the bridegroom was delayed, they [the bridesmaids] all slumbered and slept. Then …at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him! (Matthew 25:5-6 NKJV). At that point, all the bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps, but those who didn’t take extra oil, ran out.
There wasn’t enough oil for everyone, and while the “foolish” bridesmaids went in search of more, the groom came. When they got back, the procession was gone. It was all over. They showed up at the post-wedding celebration and begged to be admitted, but it was too late. Having enough oil was “essential,” and they had missed the only chance they would ever have.
There is obviously a great deal of symbolism, prophetic significance, and foundational doctrine involved in this story that we cannot begin to address in this limited space, but there are several lessons that are crystal clear.
Events that Change Everything ~
First, the angels made it clear to those who watched Jesus ascend back to Heaven that He was going to return (Acts 1:9-11). Secondly, we know that none of us is equipped to live forever in this human condition, and at some point, we’re going to arrive at our exit ramp out of here. Either way, there’s an event coming beyond which everything is going to change forever. We just don’t know when they’re going to happen.
God has graciously extended an invitation to come to His Son’s “wedding,” and an entrance into His Kingdom is available . . . , but it is conditional, and meeting those conditions is “essential.” Interestingly, oil is used extensively throughout Scripture as a type of the Holy Spirit and the means of personal contact with God. Consider that in the context of Paul’s instruction:
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. Romans 8:9 (NKJV)
The foolish bridesmaids were left out forever because they didn’t have enough “essential oil.” Those who put off preparing for the inevitable will find themselves in the same tragic situation. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the only “essential oil” that will grant entrance into a wedding celebration that will last forever. Without it, nothing in the health store will suffice . . . Even WD-40 won’t help.
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Loved all of these examples Mr. Ron; grew up with most of them. One essential oil you might consider additing to your list is found in Psalm 45:7 my friend. God’s blessings…
I’m running behind again, J.D., but love hearing from you and rejoice in your ministry. Thanks again for your courage and your commitment to promoting God’s truth and keeping things focused “around the cross.”