Sunday, August 25, 2013


Uncle John was a beloved elderly friend from bygone years who always carried a little can of “3-in-One”oil in his car. He was a do-it-yourself handyman by hobby. 

Whenever he visited us or other friends, we knew what to expect. If any door squeaked on its hinges, especially some of the older doors that were quite worn from being opened and closed so many times, we knew that Uncle John would attend to them. He also headed for anything else that made an unwanted mechanical noise to give it his undivided attention with the oil can. I'm sure that all the many doors in our home were the most silent in the neighborhood.

Curious to know if that brand of oil was still sold, I did a Google search. “3-in-One” was originally formulated in 1894 as a general-purpose lubricating oil sold in small cans and squeezable containers for household use. The inventor, George W. Cole of New Jersey, named it for the product's triple ability to "clean, lubricate and protect" originally for bicycle chains. It had a distinctive sharp odor. 

Uncle John has long gone to his reward, but I wondered if the oil was still around. The product changed ownership many times throughout the 20th century and was bought by its current owners, the WD-40 Company. Ah ha! I discovered that I have a can of that in our tool box! They retained the old-fashioned logo of the text "3 in" inside a large numeral "1" and more recently redesigned the can to look like the early 20th century oil can that Uncle John carried around (hemisphere base with tapered straight spout). The current marketing slogan is "The Tool Kit In A Can." 

Uncle John was a devout Christian and the brand name of the oil brings to my mind the analogy of the Trinity with the symbolism of the Holy Spirit's oil for anointing.

There are many squeaky things in life that grate on our nerves and annoy our ears. There are also many squeaky people who make a lot of noise about nothing, and complain about everything. They are usually self-centered, picky, fussy, and fastidious. Unfortunately, some of them, (some of us) are in the senior segment of years. The squeaky symptom seems to come along with the package of growing older. No question about it, we have accumulated many things to squeak about, to grouse about.

Some of our squeaks have to do with relationships. Some are intergenerational gripes. We sound off about the younger members of our family or modern society in general. People aren't what they used to be, we claim. What we may really mean is that we are no longer the center of our world or theirs. Of course it goes both ways. We may seem bothersome to them or misunderstood by them and we, in turn, may misjudge them. The difficulty is that our two or more generations are trying to live in different time zones and yet we share real time in our relationships.

We need the “3 in One” divine Trinity oil with the application of the Holy Spirit's gentleness, patience, love, humility, forbearance, and all the rest of the fruit of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians chapter five. We need faith in and respect for one another intergenerationally, and faith and trust in God that He is continuing to work in all of our lives for good—not necessarily for our personal comfort and convenience, but for the harmonious working out of His purposes among us.

Lord, please give me a big squirt of that divine oil to anoint me at the hinge of those potential squeaks of life as I grow older. Send along an Uncle John to help me if necessary so I can be a Barnabas encourager in my summit relationships instead of a whiner and grumbler.

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