“We Can’t Shine if We Don’t Fill our Lamps”

Dear Reader:

“You know you can’t shine if you don’t fill your lamp.” Another platitude from Grandmother Wilson…she didn’t use it as a spiritual metaphor (though certainly it fits several scriptural verses)…but as a way of telling my brothers and me that we wouldn’t get through the day playing or working on the farm without something in our stomachs- that something was usually oatmeal. (I still don’t like oat meal to this day…I am a grits gal!)

Back in history…before the days of electricity (And Lord don’t get me started on this SCE&G/Dominion fiasco…I get worked up just thinking about these “back-stabbing” utility monopolies…Where is Theodore Roosevelt, the “Trust Buster,” when we need him most?)

Throughout history different types of oil kept the lamps and lanterns burning…from olive oils to kerosene. (The title photo is a picture of a wine bottle light (electric) with a bottle of body oil beside it…I have had the bottle light for 7 years in my bathroom and it has never burned out…not bad, huh?)

Source: “Keep Your Lamp Filled with Oil” R.J. Dawson)

In Dawson’s take on oil and light….he sees another perspective on this old platitude…and I really like it.

“When believers let their lamp go out it is because they are living today on yesterday’s oil.”

“The Lord alluded to new wine skins being necessary on given occasions of new growth and new spiritual output. Doing things the way we did it yesterday does not necessarily work in the here and now. It never works in the future.

God changes course a lot and does new and different things all the time. Without following Him and paying attention one can never keep up. It is always sad to see so many Christians living in the past and refusing to allow themselves the refreshing renewal and change for the better that comes from truly following the light of God. God is never stuck in the past.”


Yesterday I decided to consciously do something to help someone else…and recognize God’s love through every day beautiful objects placed in my path.

My good deed was walking down a couple of blocks to return mail to a resident on another street in my neighborhood since the bulky letter was marked International Air and looked like something you would be waiting to receive.

My eyes were attuned to God’s love through several stops Thursday and Friday I made to just thank God for loving us so much that it spills over into our daily lives…no matter where we are.

I pulled into Hutchinson Square to see the new fountain that has come in…I love all the sitting benches around it…perfect place to eat lunch or dinner in the warmer, lighter seasons.

I looked at next week’s weather forecast and determined “Little Big Red” can be put back out on the bench…some of his leaves looked a little yellow…he wanted back outside. In spite of being inside so long, however,…his stems have grown and clusters of buds are popping out all over. * I think we will have “RED” for Valentines!

But the prettiest sight I saw this past week was when I drove by this gorgeous house on Central near the Baptist Church and the Japanese tulip trees (in the front yard) were already just about pop open…how about that…on the first of February…that is early even for these trees.

So until tomorrow…Let us remember to keep our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual lamps filled with oil…so we won’t get left behind in the darkness as God pioneers us into the future.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

And oh…by the way Happy Groundhog Day! (I say we split the six weeks evenly between winter and spring…diversity is good for the soul.)

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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3 Responses to “We Can’t Shine if We Don’t Fill our Lamps”

  1. Jo Dufford says:

    Walking down a couple blocks to do a good deed sounds great to me, especially since you specifically said, “Walking!”. A month ago would have been so different, right? Keeping oil in one’s lamp calls for refilling often. That’s what Bible study, prayer and yes, church does for my soul. Saying, “Church” reminds me of the article about the beautiful old church in a small community which had burned. The next morning someone said to the Pastor, “I am sorry you lost your church.” His reply, “Oh, we didn’t lose our church, they will all be here today.” So maybe I should say worshiping with others helps keep my lamp burning. Happy Groundhog Day! May have to find that movie with Bill Murray and watch it again.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I love your anecdote about the church…”Open the steeple and see all the people”…the children’s finger game still rings true. And you are right about the walking…that was probably the farthest point at one time…the top layer of skin still hasn’t completely covered the wound…but each week brings us closer….definitely had my renewed lessons on patience repeatedly taught throughout this on-going medical endeavor.


  2. Gin-g Edwards says:

    I immediately thought of the children’s song…this little light of mine…I’m going let it shine…way overdue for a visit and a ride in your new car…been out of town…love and miss you


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