Believe it or not, it was a compliment—really. The family we were helping move was complimenting my ability to pick up more than one box thereby expediting their move. There’s some real truth to this: sometimes you just need an ox.
This is a truth the wisest man who ever lived apparently understood as well. We read Proverbs 14:4 (New Living Translation)…
Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.
In the agricultural world King Solomon lived in, this would have been common knowledge. When the difference between eating and starving came down to your oxen, you made doubly (triply!) sure they were in good health and strength.
But imagine all the trouble the farmers had to go through just to keep the oxen happy and healthy? When you consider these animals didn’t work but for a short amount of time throughout the year, it almost seems like such a waste to keep the beasts around. But of course, no oxen, and “a stable stays clean.” In other words, the manger for the grain is empty. There’s no food, no resource, no productivity.
Healthy, strong oxen can provide a large harvest—they can fill the manger for the grain. Better oxen equaled a larger harvest. It wasn’t just about having more and more; this extra grain could be sold and provide income for the family.
To be productive, you have to use the appropriate means and methods. What was it that dad always said? “Son, get the right tool for the right job.” After all, how many bolts have you tightened with a hammer? Not many, huh? To be successful in our “sweet spot” in the Lord’s service, we have to use the right means and methods.
We need to utilize the “strong oxen” the Lord places in our lives. He has provided the tools to accomplish what you have been called to do. At the same time, you will have to invest in these “oxen” to ensure they are ready to “fill the barn.”
Invest well in the tools the Lord has given you. If He’s given you the opportunity for education, learn all you can. If He’s given you an entrepreneurial spirit, cultivate it by creating. If He’s given you an ability to train or inspire others, do it!
Feed the ox the Lord has given you and draw in the large harvest He has called you to.