The manger. Not that one but the one in Prov 14:4 - Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.
Mangers are where animals are fed. They are dirty and messy and filthy. If you don’t want the mess in the manger get rid of the odor. However, without the oxen you have no crops and thus no livelihood. This proverb is not a plea for slovenliness, physical or moral, but for the readiness to accept upheaval. Meaningful results of any require time, money and effort. Good things, productive things can often cause a little unpleasantness and may require some cleaning up. But the end result can prove wonderful, meaningful and lasting. Neat is not all that it’s cracked up to be. The dirtier the manger, the more likely you have crops in the field and business is good. Applications: 1. Practicing hospitality. Hospitality draws a congregation closer to one another. Hospitality is encouraged all throughout the NT. 1 Pet 4:8-9; no one inspects your home when they come over, they don’t care what it looks like. Pick someone you want to know better, someone who needs some attention and have them over. It’s worth the effort. It always builds relationships. We lose a lot of Christians whose families never, ever families over to their house.
2. Cost of leadership and involvement. Too many people in the Lord’s church are content to sit on the sidelines and let someone else do the work. If you’re a leader you set yourself up for criticism and ridicule. Treat others as you would have them treat you. Put yourself in their shoes. We have women who teach our young people, who work very hard at teaching and do so quarter after quarter. Every moment of discomfort, every sacrifice for His cause, every soul influenced toward faith in Him, is so worth the effort... is so much less than what the Lord surrendered for undeserving me... is indescribably rewarding.
Part 2 next week.