I was struck this week with the words of Proverbs 14:4 – “Without oxen a stable stays clean; but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.” In other words, the farmer could keep stinky manure out of his barn by removing all of the animals. But if he removes all of the animals he won’t get anything done on the farm!
The same lesson is seen in childbirth. If you have ever been present for the birth of a baby, you will know that it is a messy and painful proposition. But it is well worth it. And if you choose to avoid the pain of childbirth, you miss the blessing of the baby.
This simple proverb reminds us that progress always comes with a cost. Attempting a new endeavor is difficult, messy and often risky. Restoring that deck might mean blisters. Roofing your house might result in an aching back. But if we don’t endure the discomfort, we won’t enjoy the accomplishment.
We have been walking through a facility planning process this year and the elders will be bringing a formal recommendation to the congregation in January. These conversations have been challenging at times. We haven’t all agreed on what the facility priorities ought to be. There are different convictions regarding debt. I have had some question whether a process like this is worth the hassle and the potential division.
Let’s not forget that God never designed the church to accommodate our comfort. It is not a country club. It is a military outpost for soldiers. It is an emergency room for the dying. It is a family, but one that is constantly bringing in other adopted children. We are called to work in God’s harvest fields. And if we are going to see a great harvest, we will need to endure a messy barn.
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/animal-barn-bull-cattle-cow-farm-1866527/