Proverbs 14:4, Where no oxen are, the crib is clean; but much increase is by the strength of the ox.
Aren't you glad you don't have to clean up after an ox? Perhaps some of you think you do!
Can there be any help to us city dwellers from a verse which discusses oxen? Is this part of the scripture passť' and does it belong to another time?
Or can we find some principles in this verse that belong to all time? I'm sure we can because all scripture and every part of the scripture is timeless.
It is a book for all seasons and eras and ages. Even a verse about an ox and an oxen's stall is meant for us. Let's examine this proverb.
God gives us tools to do the work of God. But the tools sometimes require work if we are to get any benefit out of them. It is nice to have a clean stall. It is nice to have a clean shop. It is nice to have a clean house. It is nice to have a clean concession stand.
But that is not the purpose of stalls, shops, houses and concession stands. All of them are to be used for the glory of God and his work.
No daily work is required to clean up the mess an ox makes if you don't have an ox. But without the ox we get no benefit from the strength of the ox.
We sometimes waste the gift of God that he gives us to do his work because we are too lazy to clean up the oxens mess.
Getting people to do the work of God requires work on the part of those who are in a leadership role. We can choose to do the work without the strength of those that God puts in our path to use because it is too much work to get the people to work.
We think it is easier to do the work ourselves. But the wise teacher of Proverbs shows us here that much increase occurs when we use the people or the tools or even the animals that God gives us to accomplish the work.
If we do not use the people that God gives us, whose fault is it? Can we ask God to provide more people if we do not use those whom he has already given?
Likewise in the home. Do we use our children to extend our hand? Do we say, I'd rather do it myself?
It is a lot of work to teach others to be productive but the reward is great in the long run because the Lord says that there is much increase in using the gifts he gives us to accomplish the work.
What about labor saving devices that we shun because it takes effort to learn how to use them.
It certainly takes great effort to care for an ox but the the Lord uses the big ox as an extreme example to convince us that even that great effort results in greater increase than the effort we use to work an ox.
God insures us that use of his gifts will result in increase.
Sometimes we may even have an ox in the stall that will not do any work and we have to clean up the stall after him anyway.
That would certainly get old pretty fast and we would soon get rid of that unproductive ox. What about unproductive people, unproductive children.
God expects us to be as profitable as possible using all the gifts and talents and helps that he gives us.
Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. So, sow whatever ox the Lord has given you!