I love the Bible. The Word of God is a straight shooting masterwork. This Proverb sets dead in its sights one of the failings of the church today and is telling us something so simple, yet so profound. Sure, when there are no oxen everything is neat and tidy. There is no mess in the stall, no poop to shovel and no stench of ox. But there is also no harvest. There is no produce from the field.
Sadly, many Christians would rather have a clean crib than a full grain house. This is especially true of leaders in the church to whom a “clean crib” is of utmost importance. Many pastors and leaders value a clean, tidy and predictable working environment more than they do fruit! They will gladly trade the glory of harvest to avoid a mess. Many churches more resemble a factory than a farm. The factory environment is sterile, the workers are given simple, monotonous tasks that they must perform time and time again and thanks to the assembly line, the finished product is the exact same, every single time.
But the farm is different. To see any produce you have to get dirty. You are working with smelly animals and every day is different. You cultivate the land, but God produces the harvest. We’re called to harvest, not cleanliness. So many high output Christians are discarded by the “Factory” churches today because they disrupt the status quo and make messes. Many leaders are looking for passive and docile sheep instead of powerful oxen. But I’ll take a messy but productive ox any day. I’ve determined to bear as much fruit as possible while here on earth so I have something to throw at his feet in eternity.
Don’t fear the mess, just start shoveling.