12 May

Be filled with the Spirit.  Eph. 5:18b

“Rub the oil into the grain like this. Come on, keep rubbing.”

“But my arms are tired,” I whined, dropping my sticky fingers to my sides and sticking out my bottom lip just a little.

But Dad kept rubbing.  I watched him, and soon I couldn’t help myself.  I dipped my rag in the vegetable oil and applied all of my 65-pounds to pushing the oil into the butcher block with renewed enthusiasm.

My dad took a break to get more oil. (I think his arms were tired, too, because he took more than a few minutes to explain.)

“Before we put any food on this wood, we have to soak it with oil. One coat isn’t enough.”

My eyes opened wide at that.  We weren’t even half done!

“We’ll let this coat dry overnight and do it all over again tomorrow.  The wood has to be filled up with oil.  Then, when we chop tomatoes on it…

I smiled.  I grew tomatoes in our garden because they were my favorite.

…the juice that squirts out, won’t soak into the wood.  The chopping board will be so full of oil, nothing else like food or germs or stains will be able to soak in.  That makes clean-up easy, too.  Just a quick wipe with a damp cloth.”

Cleaning up the kitchen was NOT my favorite, so I smiled at that, too.

“And wood likes oil; it doesn’t like water.  Oil stays in the wood, but water dries out fast.  The oil protects wood from water.  Look, they don’t like each other.”  He poured a little water on his rag and it ran right off onto the floor.  I giggled.

Dad continued after wiping up his mess:  “If we used this cutting board without oiling it, we’d have to wash it in hot soapy water every time we cut something on it to get the soaked-in food out of it.  Then it would dry out.  Wash and dry, wash and dry, over and over again would cause the wood to crack.”  And so we got back to work with purpose.


Last week I bought new wooden spoons.  Even though I am now much older than Dad was when he taught me how to season wood, I heard his explanation as I rubbed them with oil.

And today I read Ephesians 5:1-21.  I paid particular attention to the last few sentences: …be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

The Greek word for filled  (pleroo) means completely permeated, over-filled, satisfied.

My imagination went back to my spoons and further back to my conversation with dad.  If a wooden spoon is completely permeated with one thing, nothing else can get in.  Staining and contamination are not possible.  The spoon is protected from cracking (which would also let foreign particles in), and the spoon stands ready in the kitchen to stir goodness and nutrition into a tasty meal for my family.

Wooden spoons and butcher blocks need routine re-applications of oil– though not as intense as the initial one.  Without further treatments, the wood becomes unprotected and susceptible to cracking, staining, and contamination.  The tense of pleroo implies the same principle – a continual, not once-and-you’re-done, filling.

The verses immediately following the command to be filled with the Spirit describe both the evidences of being filled with the Spirit and practices that allow the Spirit to keep filling the soul.

  • Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.  Stay in Christian community and point one another to Christ.
  • Singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.  Worship God from deep within, not simply exterior, face-saving practices.
  • Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Be grateful and trust that He is in control and knows what he is doing in every circumstance, relationship, need, and opportunity.
  • Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Put others and their interests first as Jesus washed the disciples’ feet.

As I read over this list, I can’t think of anything to add.  (God’s Word is so perfect!)  Worshiping and thanking God; encouraging others and putting them first– reminds me of the two greatest commandments – Love the Lord and your neighbor as yourself.

Worship leaders are to be so full of the Holy Spirit that we are unhindered by sin and free to be used by God who stirs the hearts of His people into a pleasing aroma of praise.

Our calling is not easy, but it is simple.


Ready for Sunday

The above list from Eph 5:19-21 isn’t easy, but it is simple.  My struggle comes when I am working on one of the four and one of the others slips.

Holy Spirit, show me when I’m out of balance, and what I need to do to restore it.

And, ultimately, work through me.  I can’t do any of this without your power working through me.  You are my Source– the One I worship, and the One who empowers my worship.

The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.  John 3:29-30

Tomorrow may I be unnoticeable; may your people see only You.


5 Responses to “Stirring”

  1. judy christian May 12, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Great illustration to further understand being filled with God’s Spirit!

    • cathyhowie May 14, 2012 at 10:24 am #

      Thanks, Judy. I write a new post every Saturday if you want to check back. You can also get an email when a new post is up if you subscribe. Sounds like you guys are doing well from what I see on facebook 🙂 LOVE the photos you post of your precious family!

  2. Louisa Kruger van Wyk May 14, 2012 at 3:50 am #

    Thanks Cathy, for sharing this great truth – made a difference in my own thinking. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I will definitely share this with my team members in our worship band. I will not easily forget this.

    • cathyhowie May 14, 2012 at 10:26 am #

      Thanks for the encouragement, Louisa! I hope your worship band is also encouraged! I enjoy keeping up with you on facebook. I don’t comment often, but I love your photos and hearing about what you are doing. It’s so wonderful to get news about what God is doing all over the world!

      I write a new post for this blog every Saturday if you want to check it out weekly. You can also get an email when a new post is up if you subscribe.

      • Louisa Kruger van Wyk May 14, 2012 at 10:35 am #

        Thanks Cathy, I already signed up for that!

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