And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor. 13:13)

THERE IS A STORY about an elderly gentleman who carried a can of oil everywhere he went. If he passed through a squeaking door, he poured his oil on the hinges. If a gate’s latch was difficult to open, he oiled it. Some people called him weird and eccentric, but he pressed on. He refilled his can when it became empty and passed through his days lubricating all the hard places. The old man made life better for those who came after him.

Many people have lost faith and hope. They creak and groan harshly as they face hurt and difficulties. Nothing goes right for them. They desperately need healing oil applied to their hearts.

May we be as diligent as the oil-pouring man and live with eyes open to the “squeaky” places in the lives of others. God help us to apply some oil of love by going out of our way to be kind, considerate, and generous. We can even look for the good in that difficult family member and praise a coworker for every decent trait.

God’s oil wears down the jagged edges of many a sin-hardened life, leaving them soft, pliable, and ready to receive His redeeming grace. Simple, yet powerful acts of love change everything. True love is a verb—an action word—and when put into motion, it energizes faith and hope.

Establish great love by repeating thoughtful deeds for rusty, hard-to-open hearts.

Susan Browning Schulz is a wife and active mom of three grown children. She lives riverside in northwest Georgia and loves leading her small group.