The year is 1953. Four men founded The Rocket Chemical Company in San Diego, CA to make a single product. The beginnings of this product and company revolve around two stories, each claiming to be the accurate genesis of company.
One story says that the product was intended for use by the U.S. Navy. A naval commander had requested the development of a substance that would protect the ships from “ocean salt corrosion that was wearing down ship gears.”* The product was created and marketed through this new found corporation.
The other story involves NASA and the Air Force. The product designed by The Rocket Chemical Company was “to be used by Convair to protect the outer skin of the Atlas missile from rust and corrosion. This outer skin also functioned as the outer wall of the missile’s paper-thin fuel balloon tanks, which were so fragile that, when empty, they had to be kept inflated with nitrogen to prevent them from collapsing.”**
Regardless of which story is correct, we have had this product for 67 years.
In 1958, this product became available to the public. In fact, this is one of the things that most men will always have in their tool box. The product is none other than WD-40. WD stands for “water displacement” and the substance we use was the 40th formula attempt.
WD-40 has never been patented. The 40th formula was guarded so carefully that the inventors didn’t want it to become common knowledge. To receive a patent, the formula would have to be divulged. Instead, the original formula resides in a locked and secure vault in San Diego.
There are more uses for WD-40 than most can imagine. It can be used to:
- Shine silver, jewelry, and shoes;
- Oil up ball gloves or clean gym shoes and cleats;
- Remove tar and bugs from your windshield;
- Clean grease from your hands;
- Remove gum from hair, shoes, or carpet;
- Unglue Super Glue;
- Remove barnacles from the hull of your boat;
- Clean bathroom tub, tile, and grout.
The most common use of WD-40 is to loosen nuts frozen on to bolts due to rust and corrosion. Known as a penetrating oil, its ultra-low viscosity oil is able to seep between the threads of two parts, dissolving and loosening the corrosion so that the nut can be removed.
As we tell people about Jesus and share the Gospel, we commonly run in to those set in their ways, frozen by life, sin, doubt, and disbelief. What is going to loosen them up, dissolving the corrosion that has rusted their hearts?
Many times, we start grasping for things we can try. We try to be fresh in our methodology, sharp in our wit, and creative in our presentation. We rationalize that this hardened individual would soften if we were dynamic and persuasive. Perhaps learning a few cutesy comebacks to their arguments will throw them off balance and then we can go in for the kill!
This common approach to evangelism puts the emphasis on our ability, skill, wit, and charm, an idea foreign to the Apostle Paul. “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. (2) For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (3) And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. (4) And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: (5) That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
And, consider what Jesus said in John 16:8, “And when he (the Holy Spirit) is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”
We need to quit “wrenching” on those corroded nuts of the world and just stick with what works: the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. That’s our spiritual WD-40 and we need to spray it generously today. Only the Lord and His Spirit can dissolve hearts corroded by years of sin and rejection of God’s call to salvation.