Sometimes there are inconvenient things we do, former procrastinators, because it’s worth the trouble. We admit the inconvenience, but we persevere because of the benefits – some now, some in the future. The ant gathering in the summer will have a harvest in the winter. The harvest could be for us, for another, or for both.
Looking back at the benefits of our work can help us persevere in another task or relationship. We work in faith that there will be a harvest up ahead even though we cannot prescribe exactly what the results will be.
Proverbs 14:4 tells us, “Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but much increase comes by the strength of an ox.”
If the farmer owns no oxen, he doesn’t have to fill or clean the feeding trough. He doesn’t have to gather straw or muck out the stall.
He also doesn’t have any profits coming from the oxen’s work – clearing land, tilling, planting, hauling.
Owning oxen means caring for them – time, energy, thought. It’s worth it to pay the cost of taking care of the animals because of the benefit they bring. The effect of the farmer alone on his land is not nearly as great as the effect of the farmer and oxen together.
We have many inconvenient things in our lives – keeping the car tuned, schooling children, complying with a boss’s requirements. Gratitude for benefits can keep us from resenting the efforts needed to gain them.
Children are a prime example. They certainly take a lot of care! But the joy of having them and the privilege of raising young ones to love the Lord is great. Taking the time to train them may be inconvenient – but can result in a happy harvest. (Work Now-And Later? April 25, 2015)
Think of dental braces. What a hassle – and what beautiful smiles later! The business woman who searches long for the best supplier benefits from a better product. The teen who mows lawns cleans, oils, and covers the mower so it will function well. Learning respect in marriage is hard work – but the benefits are worth it.
If we put off these things, jaw development may suffer, customers may leave, equipment may break down, and oneness may be damaged.
If we put off the training or the care needed from us, we will miss out on the benefits. It’s worth it to clean the trough and enjoy the strength of the ox.
What inconvenient “oxen” have you cared for and what “increase” did you gain?