Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.
I am aiming, not simply to live life, but to live it abundantly. The LORD has called us to do so. He who is the resurrection and the life will be faithful to produce much fruit in our daily walk with Him.
Of course, Jesus said that it would come at a cost, the cost of this life, of self, of our own hopes and dreams in exchange for His. Fruit cannot come without a cost. Even in the tropic, where fruit grows like weeds, they pay for it by the constant, humid heat and the threat of storms.
Nothing good is cheap, even grace.
Indeed, grace is free. Praise the LORD, since we could never afford it! But grace is anything but cheap. Forgiveness by God is the most expensive purchase ever made. It comes at a great cost, just not to us.
If eternal life is costly, how then can we expect this life to be one of ease and comfort. Indeed, a life of ease and comfort may be due to the lack of a messy ox. It may be a clean life, but it will also lack an abundant crop.
Children are an example of this.
No one denies that children uproot nearly everything in one’s life, but this is good. It is the tilling of the ground for the abundant crop to grow.
There is much joy in difficulty. And there is much lost to ease.
Choose, therefore, the messy path.
Choose the road that begins and ends with crucifixion.
Look for the better things in life than clean mangers and homes.
Embrace the dirt of the ox, and enjoy with thanksgiving its harvest.