Bring on the derricks: We have some drilling to do!

Published 7:48 pm Tuesday, October 22, 2019

It’s a brisk, cool fall morning out here in Texas as I write — a good time to go out on the front porch for some coffee and a story. I’ll provide the story.

I recently heard of a farmer in south Texas near the turn of the century. Times were hard, and his family was poor. Consequently, the struggling farmer came to the grim conclusion that he had no choice but to look to sell off his land.

But before he could find a buyer, an oil company came to him, and said, “Sir, there’s a chance you could have oil on this land. Let us dig for it, and we’ll give you royalties for any we find.”

The man had nothing to lose, so he gave the okay. The oil company soon brought out the wood derricks they used in that day, set up on his property and the drilling began.

It wasn’t long before, sure enough, they struck oil. It was such a massive supply of oil that the gusher busted those old-timey wood derricks to smithereens. As many as 100,000 barrels of oil spewed out before they could cap it off.

That poor farmer had struck oil, literally, and his meager life was about to change in a big way. He suddenly became a rich man, the owner of such a massive oil well that it took three companies to work the resources on his land.

But here’s a question: Did the man really become rich the day they discovered the oil? Did he become rich as soon as it started spewing out of the ground, bringing him wealth and fame?

The fact is, that man did not become rich right then. No, he was a rich man the minute he bought the land, the minute he signed his name on the deed decades before.

He had been a rich man a very long time, with money in the bank he didn’t know he had. He just had to discover it.

It’s a little like this story. I heard Zig Ziglar tell it recently on a video, but he must have told it a decade or more ago. We’ve probably shared five-hundred columns since Mr. Ziglar told it, and we never shared it in all that time. It was like the oil — a hidden, undiscovered resource.

I dug down and found the account while I was looking for a story to help on a presentation on the “fruit of the Spirit” from the book of Galatians. As soon as I heard the story, I knew there was a lesson there and a tie-in.

We can be very much like that poor farmer in a spiritual way.

We can have untold resources within us that could make us as rich as the richest man around. And often they lie deep in the ground, never tapped into.

These are no ordinary resources, either; and they’re worth a great deal more than that massive supply of oil the old farmer found. The fruit of the Spirit goes way deeper — love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance …”

Nine simple characteristics, in a singular fruit. But you can’t go to school and get a degree in them. You cannot buy them, borrow them, rent them, dig for them, or send off for them on Amazon.

They take years in the making, too — and they only come from an association with the Spirit. After all, they are the fruit of the Spirit.

Friends, don’t expect them to make you famous or rich like that Texas farmer. People, generally, don’t pay big money for meekness, joy and peace. But the Lord puts a lot of stock in those resources, and that’s a pretty big thing.

So you’d better bring on those old-fashioned derricks this chilly fall morning. There’s some drilling to be done.