I heard a pastor offer a challenge to other pastors a few days ago. Honestly, I found it very liberating and challenging at the same time. He was telling the story from 1 Samuel 16, when Samuel anoints David as king. He made the point that Samuel only had a certain amount of oil to use for anointing the eventual king of Israel, and not enough to pour out upon all of David’s brothers, just in case one of them might be the king that God would choose for Israel. The challenge he offered to the crowd listening was this – you only have so much to give, so make sure you’re giving and not wasting your oil.
In my nearly 40 years of life, I’ve met a lot of people. Every single one of those people have some sort of need. I’m often drawn to the neediest, the ones with the most obvious needs, and asking “What can I do to help them?” But in more recent days I realize that not everyone who needs, wants. Some people are content to live just the way they are – needy. They are content living in their misery, their incorrect thinking, their difficulty. The hardest thing for me to learn is that I can’t help them, if they don’t want help. If I try to, then I’m only wasting what I’ve been given to share with others. If I waste the oil I’ve been given on someone who doesn’t want it, then I’m actually stealing it from the person who does.
People come through the doors of our church needing jobs, money, clothes, a place to stay, words of encouragement, prayer, companionship, and so much more. Occasionally, we find a person who needs help actually wants it. I think of the guy who’s homeless. He and his wife are living on the streets, but He doesn’t want to stay there. He’s actively looking for a job, knocking on doors, trying to find a way to make a living. I want to help him. I should help him. Then there’s the guy who came to me the other day and said, “Do you know anyone who’s hiring?” and I asked him what he did or what he was willing to do. His response was, “Well there are somethings I WON’T do, I’m not really looking for hard work” In other words, he wanted money, not a job. To try to help him find a job, would be a waste of time, because He really didn’t want the help.
Who’s life are you pouring into? Are they soaking up the oil, and is their life becoming better because of your investment, or is it just rolling off of them, spilling to the ground to be soaked up by the soil.
In the words of the man of God who spoke into my life, I now speak into yours – don’t wast your oil. Sew seed into good soil. Help those who need and truly want help. Don’t squander what God has given you to share with others who will just take what you have and throw it away.