FRONT-PORCH GOSPEL: Untapped resources
Good week to all. Welcome to the front-porch.
It’s a brisk, cool fall morning here in Lexington, Oklahoma as I write – a good time to sit out on the “front porch.” So, grab your coffee and let’s share a 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, 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 of the oil we can find.”
The man had nothing to lose, so he gave the okay. The oil company soon brought out their derricks and equipment, 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 the wood derricks of that day 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. 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... did the man really become rich the day they discovered the oil? Did he become rich as soon as it started flowing out of the ground, bringing him wealth and even some 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.
I guess 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. It was a little jewel hidden away that I had to discover.
I ran across the story as I was working on a study on the “fruit of the Spirit,” one of the beautiful topics the apostle Paul addresses in his letter to the Galatians. I immediately knew there was a lesson there, and a good tie-in to that study. Clearly, we can be very much like that poor farmer, spiritually. We can have untold resources within us that could make us as rich as the richest man around. And, often, we never tap into them, not the way we should.
Paul itemizes these riches to us in the fifth chapter of Galatians, saying, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance …” Nine simple characteristics, attributes that we cannot develop on the outside but must be tapped into and processed from deep within us. You cannot go to school and study and get a degree in them. You cannot buy them, borrow them, rent them, dig for them, or send off for them. They must develop deep within you, and they only come as a result of our communion with the Spirit – they are the fruit of the “Spirit,” after all.
They will not make us famous, and they will not make us rich – people, generally, don’t pay big money for meekness and such – but they will make the Lord smile down on us, and that’s what matters.
So, friends, better bring on the derricks, there’s a whole lot of drilling to be done.
Coach Steven Bowen, a long-time Red Oak teacher and coach, now enjoys his time as a full-time writer and preacher of the gospel. In addition to his evangelistic travels, he works and writes for the Church of Christ of Red Oak at Uhl Road and Ovilla. Their worship times are 10 a.m. Sundays and 7:30 pm. Wednesdays. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 972-824-5197.