Summary: The source of our power it the risen, reigning Lord Jesus Christ.
“Go in Peace: Power for the Way”
Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ told this story of a famous oil field called Yates Pool: During the depression this field was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Yates. Mr. Yates wasn’t able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his ranch. With little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) had to live on government subsidy. Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling West Texas hills, he was no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills. Then a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he signed a lease contract. At 1,115 feet they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day. And Mr. Yates owned it all. The day he purchased the land he had received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he’d been living on relief, a multimillionaire living in poverty. The problem? He didn’t know the oil was there even though he owned it. This is, I believe, a parable of life.
I wonder how much of the power available to us lies buried, unnoticed and untapped. David knew about power for living – he tapped into power for the way: “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Let’s examine his IMAGE OF POWER. David points to power through two pictures. First he paints A PICTURE OF ANOINTING. “You anoint my head with oil.” This is a wonderful image from the perspective of THE SHEEP. Sheep are often troubled by the NASAL FLIES which lay eggs in the membranes of the sheep’s nose. Needless to say it makes for some real misery and torture when the eggs hatch. Because of this, when the nasal flies hover around the flock, some of the sheep become frantic with fear. They panic and attempt to escape their tormentors. So at the very first sign of these flies the shepherd applies oil to the head and nose of the sheep. And an incredible transformation immediately occurs in the sheep’s behavior. The oil provides peace and calm.
But summertime is also “SCAB-TIME.” Scab is a highly irritating and contagious disease common among sheep. Caused by a minute, microscopic parasite that multiplies in warm weather, “scab” spreads throughout the flock by direct contact among the flock. And since sheep love to rub heads together, it can spread like wildfire. Again, the only solution is to apply some special oil on the sheep’s head. The oil prevents and heals disease.
Now with this background, we can understand what David is saying. He knows that what’s true of the sheep is TRUE FOR US as well. Think about THE FLIES that irritate us and tend to drive us crazy: pride, jealousy, envy, lust, gossip, idolatry, discord, rebellion and so much more all tend to rob us of our peace. Then there are THE SCABS which develop in our lives when we rub heads with the world and begin to accommodate our lifestyles to the world. Then we infect our witness.
So we, too, need oil - the oil of the Holy Spirit. The apostle John wrote (1 Jn. 2:20) “But you have an anointing from the Holy One…” In Galatians 5:22ff. Paul wrote graphically of the effect of the Holy Spirit’s anointing: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” It is the Holy Spirit who enables, indeed who drives us, who EMPOWERS US TO BE LIKE CHRIST. The Holy Spirit is the presence of God in our lives. There was a factory in northern France where lavender for use in perfumes was produced. Each evening as the workers would head for home and walk the streets the little town, the whole village would be filled with the sweet aroma of lavender that had clung to the workers. And that’s how it should be with us. As we follow Christ, as we stay close to him, we will be the aroma of Christ to the world. Listen again to Paul (2 Cor. 2:14-16): “In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.” God anoints us with his Spirit and empowers us to be like Christ.