Have you ever heard the old saying “the squeaky wheel gets the grease/oil?” It is an American idiom that conveys the idea that the most noticeable problems are the ones we pay attention too. According to Wikipedia, Josh Billings popularized the saying in his poem the “The Kicker.”

I hate to be a kicker,
I always long for peace,
But the wheel that does the squeaking,
Is the one that gets the grease.

It’s a saying that seems to run very true in our cultural and one that has gone from a description of American cultural interaction to an unwritten rule for getting stuff done. It is amazing how many times I have been told by well-meaning people that if you want a problem fixed or you want something to change then be “the squeaky wheel.”

However, is it an accurate idiom and should it be an unwritten rule? Let’s take one of our most sacred and important relationships, marriage and apply that idiom to our marriages. In my experience as a marriage therapist, couples who operate with that unwritten rule find that after years their only verbal interactions are problem focused. They have lost the ability to have conversations about the good in their life and the wonderful. They have become so focused on fixing problems that all they ever talk about is the next noticeable issue in their life or their marriage.

Or how does that idiom work as an unwritten rule with our kids. Before I know it, I find myself constantly interacting with the “problem child” and ignoring the good kid. Pretty soon even the best teens and children will realize that if they want any attention from adults, that “squeaking” is the only route to take. We end up with a whining, complaining, problem-focused child that drives us nuts. Anyone else notice this?

Or how does this idiom work in our job serving the Lord? Does this way of thinking lead us to improved, joy-filled relationships with our church family and to share our great joy with those outside our family? Or does it lead us to constantly try and identify problems thereby causing infighting and quarreling, division and ultimately separation. Should this be an unwritten rule for us, God’s people?

According to the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians: “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” (4:8).

It seems to me that we are “barking up the wrong tree” culturally, and that we should be looking for the “best of both worlds.” Have a great week! “The ball is in your court”, after all “every cloud has a sliver lining!”

Other Posts You Might Like:

Making The Cut - Karen Lawson

2010 Benevolence Assistance - Don Compton

Cycle of Insanity - Casey McCollum

Baby Shower - Andres Badillo

Future Fellowship - Bob Bentley



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McKinney at Cardinal

101 Cardinal Drive
Denton, TX 76209



Sunday Worship Schedule
9:30 - Worship (English Service)
10:10 - Bible Class (Birth to 8th grade following the Kid's church time until the end of service)
11:00 - Worship (Spanish Service)

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6:30 - Celebrate Recovery

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