One of the reasons we don’t do greater things for the Lord is because we are too afraid of dirt. You can’t get much of anything done in the world without making a mess. Anyone who has cooked a meal knows this. Anyone who has played a football game knows it, too. There will be pots to clean and counters to wipe in the first instance. In the second, there will be shoulders to pop back into sockets. This is simply how the world works. Proverbs 14:4 says, “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: But much increase is by the strength of the ox.”
We are to produce fruit. So don’t be disabled by the mud, the grime, or the trouble that comes while you’re farming. Sure, I can tell you how you can do less laundry. Don’t let your kids do anything. No sweating, no running, no eating of any kind; we can’t afford stains. But abundant crops come by the strength of those little oxen.
There are bumps to doing business: The deal gone bad, the troubled relationship, the stripped-out screw that you’re now going to have to rip out of the drywall, these are all production costs. See them for what they are and laugh at them. The man who can only see the dirty oxen trough is worse than near-sighted; he is blind. He’s doomed to servile fear and despair. But God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound mind.
One of the dirtiest jobs you’ll ever face up to is straightforward, unqualified confession of sin. Why in the world would you go looking for your own muck and then, when you find it, hold it up to the Lord with an apology? You do it because you see beyond this particular ox trough. Get it clean so you can stand up on the other side and produce greater fruit for the Lord.
Jared Longshore – November 26, 2023