The story is not new. Maybe you’ve heard it already… the one about Mr. Yates? It was new to me but it has stuck with me ever since I first heard it.
As the story goes, Mr. Yates was an unsuccessful farmer during the Great Depression. He owned a good chunk of land in Texas but no matter what he tried or how hard he tried; Mr. Yates could not produce anything from the farm. On top of that, the bank was threatening him with foreclosure. But then, a man came knocking at the door. He told Yates he worked in the oil business and offered him a partnership to drill for oil on Yates’ land. Crops were dying, debt was growing so Mr. Yates said “yes” to the deal.
Right away, the oil company began to drill. And, they hit a gusher – an unbelievable 82,000 barrels in one day!
Think about Mr. Yates working on that land, trying soils, fertilizers, watering patterns, different tools; trying everything to do life right. He had to have been tired, frustrated, desperate, sad. And all the while, thousands of gallons of oil were bubbling just underneath the surface.
Okay, stay with me now.
WHAT IF – You are Mr. Yates. I am Mr. Yates. We are all Mr. Yates.
That means the person asleep next to you, the person begging on the street corner, checking out your groceries, managing your financial portfolio, snubbing you, checking in on you, competing with you, trying to get in the country, fighting for his life in Sudan, marching in Pride parades, your baby, people of every color, affiliation… we are ALL Mr. Yates.
WHAT IF – The land is your life; including your family, job, hobbies and habits.
WHAT IF – That oil and its wealth, the subsequent freedom because of that wealth, is God in you.
Knock, knock, knock
WHAT IF– The oil man at the door is Jesus.
Clear away all the metaphors and we’re left with this; God is in you, God sees you and wants to live, work, struggle, win with you to bring you a wealth of freedom, peace and confidence.
The truth behind this story breathes with urgency as the climate of our world breeds isolation.
We are all bound together by Divine DNA. And so, Humble healer, Story-teller, Defender, Rescuer Jesus is knocking with this offer for us all: “As the Father has loved me, I love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commands you will remain in my love just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:9-12)
A scripture verse like that isn’t true for me just because I was baptized in a Catholic Church. You read them. The words are true for you. You just have to accept them 🙂
WHAT IF – Mr Yates had said no? Oh my gosh right? His life was changed with one yes. If he had said no; he would have lost his farm and been left homeless to starve. The world is full of starving, struggling Mr. Yates’.
The words are true for you. You just have to accept them.
Also, just because I go to church or profess a faith doesn’t mean I’m not pulling a Mr. Yates. I know I can turn to worry and emotional eating and panic when things get hard; working the “fields” with my bad habits. And Jesus still comes knocking.
The story is sticky. I hope it sticks with you too. Because
WHAT IF – everyone you see is Mr Yates.
WHAT IF – the words are true.
WHAT IF – you say yes.