Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox.
Maybe it is my inner adolescent peeking out, but I couldn’t help but get a chuckle out of this one. Yup, that’s a poop reference in the Bible.
Getting past that, there’s a good lesson to take heed of. Basically I think it means that hard work is sometimes dirty work. And sometimes the people that do the dirty work make a mess, and that’s OK because you can always clean it up. Now, I’m not referring to “dirty work” in the sense of something that is morally gray. This isn’t a ends justifies the means concept we’re talking about here.
Of course any farmer can tell you the practical meaning of this verse. Without the right livestock you’re not going to turn much of a profit. But I don’t think that’s the whole idea either.
What I’m talking about is the boldness and courage to do something outside most people’s comfort zones. To roll up your sleeves and get right into the action. I’m talking about actually volunteering at a soup kitchen instead of just giving them a few bucks and some old clothes. I’m talking about talking to that odd person on the metro that everyone else is avoiding eye contact with. Yup, I’m talking about Jesus dining with the tax collectors and other sinners of his day.
On a more micro scale, this could mean talking to your teenage kids about drugs or sex. Or it could simply mean a random act of kindness that includes a toilet bowl brush. Whatever it takes to spread God’s love – even if it means getting dirty.