Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox. ~Proverbs 14:4
Unless you are a farmer, an animal stall is not a place you want to frequent or spend a lot of time in. Animal stalls are where cows, donkeys, horses, and oxen are kept at night or during very bad weather. The animals eat and drink there, and it becomes the place where they do their animal business. The stall, or crib, can become very dirty, smelly, and unsightly. If you are a farmer, this is a given. Our devotion this morning gives us a Bible principle concerning service.
There is the emblem of the oxen.
The ox is a symbol of service. In the Gospel of Mark, the Lord Jesus is referred to as the suffering Servant. The ox is important for plowing. Farmers would have more than one ox in order to accomplish much plowing and threshing of wheat. The ox is a servant animal. The ox is a symbol of sacrifice. Oxen were used for sacrifices. Typically, an ox was killed and offered as a burnt offering and, at other times, as a sin offering. A sacrifice speaks of something being given up. In the case of this sacrifice, a life is given up. The ox is a symbol of strength. It would have been the equivalent of a tractor or heavy moving equipment that we use in our day.
There is the enablement of the oxen.
“Much increase is by the strength of the ox.” Oxen make work more productive and efficient. More oxen put to work results in a greater crop and harvesting. It helps assure a farmer of a great yield. There is much strength in numbers. Two are better than one! Much increase occurs when there are many people serving, as opposed to just one person serving. Much increase occurs when an entire church is praying, as opposed to just one or two praying. Much increase occurs when many people are soulwinning, as opposed to just one or two soulwinning. Much increase comes to your spiritual life when you are under more preaching instead of less preaching.
There is the eventual with the oxen.
Having oxen implies we have a vision for things to come. We see an empty field that will be plowed over, wheat that will grow, and a successful harvest. Having oxen implies we have faith. We have faith that God will use our effort for His glory. We have faith to believe that what we do today will yield great results in the future. We have faith to believe that we are doing the right thing. Having oxen implies we are committed to work. "In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury." Having oxen means we aren’t just talking about a great harvest, but we have a plan that we are putting to work for this harvest. Oxen imply a lot of hard work for something that we need to see accomplished. “Much increase is by the strength of the ox.”
There is the emptiness without the oxen.
"Where no oxen are, the crib is clean...." If we do not run buses and vans, the buses and vans will be clean, but there will be nobody we bring to church. If we do not plan special, large attendance days for reaching people with the gospel, the carpet and chairs will be clean, and the crib is clean: nobody is there to hear the gospel! Where there are no ministries, the crib is clean. Where there is no soulwinning, the crib is clean. Where there is no Bible reading, the crib is clean! The pages are unmarked; the Bible shows signs of being new and never used. Where there is no praying, there are no knees that are calloused, no brows that are creased with strain, and no prayers being answered. In effect, the crib is clean!
“Much increase is by the strength of the ox.” You can do less or nothing, but the crib will be clean. Let’s have a plan, make some sacrifices, get to work, and remember: “Much increase is by the strength of the ox”!
Have an increasing God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Micah 5-7