There was once a sheep ranch owned by a man named Mr. Yates. Mr. Yates wasn't able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay the overheads and the interest on the mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his ranch. With little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) had to live on government subsidy. Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling west Texas hills, he was no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills.
Then a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he signed a lease contract. At 1,115 feet, they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day. And Mr. Yates owned it all. The day he purchased the land, he had received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he'd been living on relief. A multi-millionaire living in poverty. The problem? He didn't know the oil was there, even though he owned it.
[Source: Bill Bright, "How to Be Filled with the Spirit" (Campus Crusade publication) From Aubrey Vaughan's Sermon "The Greatest Discovery This Christmas"]
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