Oxen and Increase
Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox. ~ Proverbs 14:4
This morning, we are looking at the Biblical principle of productivity. As we read the Bible, God places much emphasis on quantity and results. God cares for the one, but He emphasizes increase. The word “increase” is found 147 times in the Bible. It is used 15 times in Proverbs and 14 times in Psalms. There is another word: oxen. “Oxen” and “ox” are used 145 times. The plural form “oxen” on its own is used 95 times. Notice: “much increase is by the strength of an ox.” We have a great Bible principle contained in this verse that applies to our personal lives, our church, and our soulwinning ministry.
We see the essential VALUE. Oxen were a very valuable commodity in Israel. For hundreds of years, the world was an agricultural society. People lived and were sustained by living off the land. They sowed seed, cultivated crops, and reaped a harvest. As a farmer, there was a difference between a good harvest and a great harvest. A good harvest would get you by another winter, and give you just enough to pay the bills and have food on the table. A great harvest meant a very profitable year. A great harvest meant more land acquisition and more crops. Oxen were essential animals in farming. Oxen were like having tractors and motorized equipment. Oxen allowed you to have these animals carry the burden of the yoke instead of you. Oxen were much stronger and could go much longer during a day. Oxen would help you plow a lot of fields and carry loads, and would sometimes be used for transportation around the farm. The firstborn of oxen were to be offered to the Lord. Oxen were permitted as food. Oxen were essential for the sacrifices that God instituted. Notice: where no oxen are, the crib is clean. If you don’t have oxen, there is nothing to clean up after. If you don’t have oxen, you don’t have to get up earlier and work later. If you don’t have oxen, you don’t need to keep hay and a water trough in the crib. Where there are oxen, there will be more work, more to clean up after, and more responsibilities.
We see the exciting VISION. Here is a farmer who starts out only with land, seed, handheld equipment, his personal strength, and lots of hard work. This man sows, reaps, and has a good harvest. He is careful to save money, and one day he buys an ox. He has a better crop success with one ox. So, he repeats what he did before, but with the one ox he is able to save more, and the next season he buys another ox. He starts his third season with two oxen. This man is excited! With two oxen, he is able to produce three to four times more than in the previous years. He develops a vision for his farming business. He has a vision for more land to farm on. He has a vision for more laborers to help him in the harvest. He has a vision for building more barns and storehouses to hold the harvest in. He has a vision for more oxen to plow and pull. He has a vision for new crops; he goes from wheat, to barley, to vineyards, to vegetables, to fruit trees, and much more. Now he has a vision for farming that will benefit not just his family, his village, or his city; but a vision that impacts his country and the world at large!
We see the extraordinary VOLUME. Think of the volume, the extraordinary volume, from the strength of an ox. Let’s apply this to soulwinning. With more soulwinners, more souls get saved! With more soulwinners, more people are reached! With more soulwinners, more laborers are trained! With more soulwinners, more men are called to preach! With more soulwinners, more churches are started! With more soulwinners, the greater our church branding! With more soulwinners, more area is covered with the gospel! Much increase is by the strength of an ox!
Think about this: With few or no soulwinners, the church will have little or no growth! With few or no soulwinners, there are no classes to fill! With few or no soulwinners, there are no buildings to build or expansion that is needed! With few or no soulwinners, there is no need to reproduce what we are doing!
There’s strength in numbers! There’s strength in involvement! Where no oxen are, the crib is clean, but much increase is by the strength of an ox.
Have a productive God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Exodus 22-24