Megan Evans, Women’s Ministry Director, LHBC

Proverbs 14:4 (ESV)
Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
    but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.  

My family and I lived in a German village for four years during our military service.  The town of Obernheim sliced right through a beautiful valley and held little more than the typical deutsche Gasthaus and backerei.  My children loved every inch of it, and one of their favorite things to do was to pet the cows in the neighbor’s dairy barn.  We quickly learned to watch where we stepped!  

The only way to keep a barn pristine clean is to leave out the animals, but what good does that do the farmer?  Proverbs 14:4 wisely points out that the farmer will need his oxen in order to harvest the land, much like my neighbor needed his cows in order to yield a successful milk production.    

If animals were needed for the harvest, then caring for the livestock including their stalls also had to be the farmer’s valuable work.  I find that it is easy to want end results, but when it comes down to meeting goals and serving the Lord, we have to be ready to roll up our sleeves and get our hands and feet dirty.  Here are just a few of the things the Bible says about our work:  

  •     We can seek God first (Matthew 6:33)
  •     We can work heartily (Colossians 3:23-24)
  •     We can be confident (Philippians 1:6)
  •     We can bring God glory in all of it (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  •     We can entrust our work to the Lord (Proverbs 16:3)

We don’t usually love the mess, but messy is ok. Mess often points to life taking place.   As a mother, especially when my children were young, it often felt that the mayhem of toys, dishes, laundry would eat me alive.  But I would take tripping over a pile of legos any day over a perfectly clean house without them.  

Life in general isn’t tidy.  It is full of complex situations and people.  The only way to live completely free of conflict and effort is probably also to live completely free of people, but what fun is that?  And God calls us to interact with others. John 13:34 says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  I can’t help but think of the first manger that pointed us to Jesus.  

It can feel like work stands in the way of our service sometimes, but God cherishes our heart in all that we do for Him.  God directs our steps and He delights in every detail of our life (Psalm 37:23). When we feel like all we are doing is just mucking out stalls and pouring feed into the manger instead of working in the fields, we can find joy in the mundane as we bask in his delight.  Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

God cares about the details of our life and will lead us through the hard work.  We can take confident steps to serve the Lord in all seasons of our life.  We can bring Him glory in the moments we are mucking stalls and in the moments of harvest.  

Father God, I commit my hands to your service today.  May even the most mundane task of this day be done with praise on my lips as I work for you. In Jesus Name, Amen.    

Ephesians 2:8-9:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.