Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning

It started with the song, “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning”. Which led me to think about lighthouses.

Which led me to think about trips to lighthouses with Pilot.

Which of course, caused me to pause and look at pictures of our trips to lighthouses.

Which led me to think about the necessity to keep the lighthouse lamp trimmed.

Which led me to think about the soot oil caused to build up on the lighthouse lamps.

Which led me to think about how that soot dimmed the lamp.

Which led me to think about how, if that soot wasn’t removed, the light would not shine brightly.

Which led me to consider if the light doesn’t shine brightly as intended, lives might be lost.

So I did a little research.

Yep. Rabbit trail.

Early lighthouse keepers were told that the oil canisters that held oil, and the lamps should always be perfectly clean. Inside and out.

The lamp was to be trimmed, and the burnt section of the wick cut off every day. Keepers were also instructed that oil long kept without use grows thick, and won’t burn well. 

Next to actually tending to the light, keepers had to clean the lamps, reflectors, and lantern room windows, as well as prepare the wicks and oil for the following night.

Keepers were told to take the lamp apart piece by piece and cleanse it once a month. Cleaning the necessary lighting equipment was vital to producing good light.

In one instruction manual, keepers were told if everything after being used was cleansed from oil, and then kept neatly, it would not be so unpleasant a task as it usually is to take care of lamps.

Makes sense, right?

Mind the lamp. Keep the wick trimmed and burning. Get rid of the soot. Clean the lamp inside and out. If you don’t use the oil, it’ll grow useless.

Prepare each night for the next day. If you do a good job removing the soot and keep the lamp clean, it won’t be such an unpleasant job the next time.

My rabbit trail didn’t end there, however.

Next, I considered how those of us who follow Jesus are called to be lights in this dark world. We are called to keep our lamps trimmed and burning.

Our container holding the oil used to keep our lamp burning needs to be cleaned inside and out. We need to search our hearts piece by piece. Cleaning is essential to letting our lights shine brightly.

If we regularly examine ourselves before God, remove the soot, and strive to follow his will, then it won’t be so unpleasant a task the next time.

As the keeper’s oil needed to be used often or it would grow useless, if we don’t share the message God gave us to share, it will grow thick. It won’t burn well.

Everything had to be cleaned each night. The next day’s needs were taken care of before bed. Nightly prayer helps us achieve this.

If we don’t trim the lamps, soot will build up. If we don’t remove the soot, our light will be dimmed. If our light is dimmed, we won’t shine brightly for Jesus. If we don’t shine brightly for Jesus, lives could be lost.

Keep your lamps trimmed and burning. The time is drawing nigh. Children, don’t get weary. Don’t get weary ’til your work is done. African American Spiritual

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.  

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16 NLT

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash.