'Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.' Proverbs 14 v 4. This is one of those verses, which if taken at face value, appears to be only applicable to farmers. But, like most of Proverbs, there is a deeper meaning. We all like things to be clean, yes? A stable without an oxen is clean. A life without difficulties is straight-forward.
Now lets pretend we're in biblical times and there are no tractors. The ox is necessary to plow the fields. His strength is required in order to produce a harvest. The immediate effects may not be obvious - but when harvest time comes, we know it was worth the messy stable. It was worth the maintenance; the upkeep and the feeding. The time and money invested in this animal, to ensure he became strong. Do you see where I'm going here?
Without difficulties, our stables are clean. Without day-to-day troubles, our lives are easy. No striving, no mess. But without the oxen, there is no harvest. Without challenges, there is no learning. Without work, there is no reward. When we invest little time and little effort, we will reap little. But if we apply ourselves fully to maintaining ourselves spiritually; if we learn from our struggles and grow - we will become strong. There will be mess. There will be work. There will be effort, sweat and tears. But seeds will be sown in abundance and the harvest will be plentiful.
So if your stable isn't clean; if your life is not free from difficulties - know that you are strengthening an ox. Know that seeds are being sown and you will be replenished. Invest time in your faith; in your relationship with God. Fill up on His Word. Keep company with those who build you up. Maintain the health of your body and mind. Take care over how you choose to spend your time; knowing that where your priorities lie reflects where your heart is at. And know that the time and effort you are investing will prove worthwhile.
About the Author: I'm Ruth. I am a Christian girl, married to Gary and a mummy to two beautiful children. As a family, we are part of Kerith Community Church. I work part time as a nurse and enjoy singing, writing and wearing pajamas (not to work). I would love to speak publicly about God one day, so I am working on overcoming my fear of walking up stairs in heels.
My childhood was difficult and my teenage years were eventful. Mess Into Message is all about my life now, my life then and what I have learned along the way. My hope is that in (over)sharing my story, others might be encouraged and inspired. I am still very much on a journey and I have a feeling it's going to be a interesting one. But I am expectant and excited to discover what God has planned for me.