Proverbs In 365 Devotions


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

Good Kind Of Dirty

R Aylor

This has been a fascinating verse to me for many years. Maybe because it seems that Solomon is just stating the obvious and somehow he must have believed that with every truth he observed in life no matter how apparent there must be something in it for him to learn… a foundational principal that he could carry with him into other areas of life for application.

As for this verse, I think we’ve all seen some form of what Solomon is describing here. Right?

I mean... if there are no tools in your workshop, it is likely clean and without clutter, but many engines can be repaired by the use of tools, and with that there is going to be a lot of grease and grime… there's just no getting around it. It’s proof that you have been working to accomplish something.

Whether your desk is clean or dirty… your house… your clothes… they all tell a story. And to achieve something great in life means that whatever the normal order of your life is for you, it’s going to have to change… the old order is going to be disrupted. If you’re a farmer harvesting a crop, a worker putting up a fence, a carpenter building a house… an oilfield worker… a geologist or an archeologist… something’s going to have to get dirty or at least out of its normal order to realize anything worthwhile. The world is usually not changed for the better from a recliner.

Many people do like to keep a clean house though… and that's cool! I get it. It’s a good thing. But if you’re not ever letting your family live in your home then you have made up your mind it’s for something besides living… Its for sitting there and looking nice and clean. So live in it and then clean it and then live in it again and again.

In today's verse Solomon shares how a clean manger with no oxen does not have the power to accomplish the purpose of a manger. The oxen are not eating to maintain strength to plow the fields… neither are they being birthed in the manger area… nor are they pooping and stinking up the place. The owners have no need to hire workers to maintain all the workings of the manger… Sure it’s clean and comfortable there… It would make a great play house for the kids… But no oxen may mean no crops and no food on the table… poverty for the family or worse.

As for us… as for me… Not getting my hands dirty… always trying to be comfortable will not accomplish anything great. It will not fulfill my purpose in life. Sure I will be clean and well rested but whats the good of a clean healthy life for the soul purpose of existing? A tool with no purpose is not really a tool. It is just a stick or a piece of metal.

God created us with a purpose. That is to see more and more of his glory and come to mirror the image of his character We were created to worship him for who he is and find extreme joy in doing so… and then go forth and share his glory with others.

Man was made in Gods image and was commanded to multiply and fill the earth. That would be us multiplying images of God. But Gods image in man was corrupted by sin. However, the good news is that God shows us his glory in his only Son Jesus. He lived a perfect life, was paid the wages for our sin with his death… He gives his righteousness to all who find their hope in him.  

Jesus rose from the grave and God gives us the same power that raised him to be victorious over sin as we walk with him. And he will raise us up one day no longer corrupted by sin and death. Now, because we have seen the glory of God and have been changed, we can fulfill Gods command… multiply and fill the earth sharing how the image of God in Jesus changes hearts.

And so we are called to get up off the couch… to tend the oxen… to plow and plant seeds of the good news of Jesus… and to help gather the fields that are ready for harvest… to be willing to get dirty and be about the mission God has for us.