The last time we were in Costco, my wife and I noticed our ten-year-old daughter standing right in front of a large screen trying to read what it said, and it was at that moment we put “make an appointment at the eye doctor” on our to-do list for her. Sure enough, we found that our little girl was in need of glasses.
The day the eyeglasses came in, my daughter, Joy, put them on, and with a huge smile on her face said, “Mom! This is the most beautiful day of my life! We’ve got to get the boys some of these.”
As soon as Joy put on glasses, her view changed drastically! Much like her excitement about her new perspective on life, I would like to challenge you to look through the eyes of Solomon to get his perspective on the valuable lessons he writes about in Proverbs 14:4: “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.”
Solomon is notorious for weighing options and comparing disadvantages with advantages. Here, he shows some valuable lessons we can learn from an ox.
When You Get Rid of Your Ox—You Gain
Have you ever had to care for an animal—more specifically one that was unkempt—had flies swarming around it, and was smelly? According to this principle, if you choose not to care for the ox, your life is easier. You have no animal to clean up after, no extra work, no time devoted to its care, no hassle! I kind of wish we could stop there and say, “This principle sounds good to me.”
Although we may gain some extra time and unwanted messes, if we choose a life without the element of an ox, we lose more than we gain.
When You Get Rid of Your Ox—You Lose
The strength of the ox produces much, and without the ox altogether, you lose the greatest part of this principle—the harvest. That’s a big loss!
Just as an ox produces a harvest through strength, so a man produces results through his labor. Work still works! Further down in Proverbs 14, Solomon says, “In all labour there is profit.” Engaging in ministry, serving people, and reaching the lost for Christ all require hard work, but they all produce a harvest for Christ.
Many people today focus on the perks of having a clean stable, and they choose to take the easy way out. If we did this we may find it easier not to have a Christian school, a discipleship program, or a bus ministry. They’re too much of a hassle to manage and grow. However, this is why Solomon weighs the options, and clearly teaches that we get more out of life when we choose to work.
The more the oxen work, the more they bring forth a harvest. And the more we labor for Christ, the more harvest we will reap for His name’s sake. Our culture’s perspective tends to view service and work as a bother, but may we keep Solomon’s perspective and choose to look through the eyeglasses of his wisdom. We ought to live every day with the mindset that if Christ came back today, we would want Him to find us laboring for Him.