Nothing

drill dry

 Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. (John 15:5-6)

Read: Matthew 8:28-34, Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 5:1-43, Luke 8:26-56

Relate: For weeks they had been working hard at it. It was there and everybody knew it, but they kept drilling deeper and deeper to no avail. All the signs said it was there. All the geological surveys said it was there, but they just weren’t hitting it. A lot of time and money had been invested into this operation. A lot of seriously rich people were starting to become seriously upset and soon heads were going to roll. The driller, assistant driller, and two derrickmen were all standing around the drill scratching their heads and wondering how they can somehow save the situation and their jobs when a complete stranger walked right up to the group.

“Got nothin?”

“Nothin.” The lead driller said wondering who this guy was.

“Why don’t you back it up about halfway, change your angle two degrees to the north, and then try again?”

The two derrickmen started snickering and the lead driller tried his best to hide a smile as he said, “Might be worth a try.”

All four men just watched the stranger turn around and walk away doing their best to pretend to be seriously considering his suggestion. As soon as he was out of earshot the assistant driller said, “Five feet.”

“Huh?”

“Five feet. If we were to take that jerk’s suggestion it would only be a difference of five feet at prime depth.”

The lead driller had an idea, “Well, we’ve just got our out.”

The other three just looked at him so he continued. “You all saw the guy. You all heard him. We could all claim we thought he was a rep from corporate and then when they start moaning about delays again it is his fault, theirs, not ours. We’ve got ourselves a scapegoat.”

Within minutes the drill was being pulled up and re-positioned. Not ten seconds after drilling recommenced at the new angle and depth, oil was struck. Not just any oil, though, this was a far finer grade than they were led to expect.

React: The real story isn’t oilmen, it is fishermen. The real effort hadn’t been going for weeks, just all night. But when that amateur showed up and told the professionals how to do their job five feet was about the difference from where the nets had been to where they would be. It should not have mattered one bit. The catch they hauled in… nothing short of a miracle.

There is a lot to be said for hard work. There is a virtue to putting a lot of sweat and effort into a project, but all too often all of our hard work is the spiritual equivalent of spinning the tires faster and faster when the car is stuck in mud. Yes, there appears to be a lot of results. The effects of our spinning tires are being spread at a greater and greater distance. All we are really doing, though, is slinging mud, making a whole lot people angry, and digging ourselves into a deeper and deeper hole. Without Jesus, all our hard work is for nothing. With Him… it’s nothing short of a miracle.

Respond: 

God, all my fountains are in You. You are my source. You are my hope. You are my everything. All too often, in the course of the day in and day out motion of life, I find myself wandering off and trying things my own way. Forgive me for that. Help me to be quicker to realize that nothing I could ever do, apart from You will ever amount to anything. I don’t ask that You would bless my efforts or my ideas. Instead I ask that my efforts would instead line up with Your will. In all things let me work… hard… for Your glory.

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9 thoughts on “Nothing

  1. Great object lesson, BJ. Small changes, a little different perspective, admitting we’re going the wrong way…sometimes that’s all it takes to uncover the miracle we’ve been missing. Awesome!

  2. “There is a virtue to putting a lot of sweat and effort into a project, but all too often all of our hard work is the spiritual equivalent of spinning the tires faster and faster when the car is stuck in mud.”

    Oh, amen to that! I sometimes think of Martha and Mary, Martha running all over the place spinning tires and growing resentful. She’s not really doing anything “wrong,” it’s just that the Lord is there and Mary knows to just sit at His feet.

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