Where no oxen are, the crib is clean; but much increase is by the strength of the ox.
Except for speed, he was superior to the horse in that he was stronger, lived longer, was less susceptible to disease and injury, and fed on what the horse wouldn’t eat… so he was 1/3 of the cost.
And oxen were able to do it all. They plowed fields, watered crops, harvested grain, and ground the flour. John Deere has had to do a lot to replace the productivity of the ox! And to have a lot of oxen was an indication of blessing. We know, for instance, that Job was a blessed man, and Scripture says he had 500 yoke, which totaled 1,000 oxen. Dude was blessed.
But, can you imagine taking care of 1,000 oxen?! They had to be fed and watered. And to keep them from wandering off they had to be penned. They had to be doctored when sick or injured. And of course, can you imagine the manure that had to be dealt with?
Being blessed… is not a hassle-free endeavor. It requires a lot of work! And if we’re gonna be blessed we need to be resigned to this fate.
As Proverbs 14:4 indicates, where there are no oxen the crib is clean. It’s peaceful and in order. But, where’s the increase?
Do you see the trade off?
If it’s fullness we want… we gotta embrace the mess associated with it.
Personally I like having a clean and tidy house. That’s my preference. But if you look at our house on any given day you’re likely to see a messy one. Having three wonderful children, my wife and I are extremely blessed! But, let me tell ya, my preference for a clean and tidy house is often challenged. Shoes are scattered, stacks of dishes come out of no where, lego pieces appear between my toes, globs of toothpaste show up on the bathroom mirror (didn’t I just clean that yesterday?), etc, etc, etc.
You know what that says? I’m blessed!
Without any kids I can imagine how clean our life would. But I cannot imagine how empty it would be without them!!! Children, spouses, and friends make for a full and rich life. So if blessing means our life is messy, then bring it on. We would have it no other way!
I think the barn of Proverbs 14 can speak to the realm of family, friends, or perhaps business, even church. The take away is that all blessings have their hassles. But that’s okay. That’s okay! When our life looks a bit like a messy barn (in one way or another), take heart… there’s a blessing at the center of it all!