THE WORD: An oil can in my pocket

PHOTO: “Christ in the House of Simon” by Dieric Bouts (circa 1440) is a painting in the collection of The Gemäldegalerie Museum, Berlin.

There is a good illustration in one of Dr. Parkhurst’s books. He tells of a workman who was in a trolley car one day. As the door was opened and shut, it squeaked. The workman quietly got up and, taking a little can from his pocket, dropped some oil upon the offending spot, saying as he sat down, “I always carry an oil can in my pocket, for there are so many squeaky things in this world which a little oil will help.” 

Dr. Parkhurst applies this to life, saying that love is a lubricant, with which we can soften or prevent a great many unpleasant frictions with other — if we always have love and will speak the gentle word, the soft word, the kindly word, at the right time. I used the illustration recently in my church in a sermon, and suggested to the people that they all carry oil cans, thus trying to make the world a little sweeter place to live in. 

“I am not writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning — that we love one another.” 2 John 1:5 

“The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you — so you must love one another.” John 13:34  

J.R. Miller was a pastor and former editorial superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication from 1880 to 1911. His works are now in the public domain.