June 06, 2022

Clean the Stable

Devotion for the Week...

I enjoy reading the book of Proverbs. It's full of little wise snippets about living well, so it's a practical book, plus most of the proverbs are easily understood, so it's not at all a hard book to read. I smiled recently when I read "Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest" (Proverbs 14:4). 

I've never lived or worked on a farm. I don't even remember ever visiting a stable that housed oxen, but I can imagine such a stable is not an easy place to keep clean. I'm thinking there would be a lot of time spent removing manure, which doesn't sound like it would be much fun. Obviously, if a farmer didn't have any oxen in the stable, they'd save a lot of time and effort keeping it clean!

On the flip side, though, without an ox to pull the farming equipment, the land they could farm would be severely limited. Well, it would have been in Bible times, anyway. I doubt many farmers are using oxen these days! So, without an ox they save on the time and effort spent cleaning the barn, but they also limit their harvest, limiting either the food they produce for their own family or how much they could sell. Either way, that limitation wouldn't be a good thing at all. Suddenly the time and energy required to clean up after an ox seems a lot more worth it.

You've likely heard the phrase 'short term pain for long term gain,' which is precisely what this proverb is demonstrating. Yes, sometimes the work that needs to be done is hard or time consuming or just not fun, but doing the work today sets us up for so much good in the future that it far outweighs the pain of the work.
Doing the work  today sets us up for  good in the future | DevotedQuilter.com
If I had to guess, I'd say you're probably not trying to decide whether or not adding an ox to your stable would be worth the effort. Is there something, though, that you're considering that would be a lot of work, but that could increase your efficiency or your ability to do meaningful work? That's your ox. What work would your ox require of you? What would your ox make possible? Is the potential harvest worth the work of cleaning the stable?

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