Here's the verse: "Where no oxen are, the crib is clean; but much increase is by the strength of the ox."
(Aren't they cute?)
Just as the parables spoken by Jesus made sense to his listeners, so this proverb would have made profound sense to Solomon's readers.
Here's why: Israel was primarily an agricultural society --- most of the people made their living from the crops they grew and the animals they raised. The word that is translated "crib" here could also be written as "manger" --- the feeding trough for the animals in the stable. A Hebrew farmer could relate to that, and to the fact that there was more to do than just load up the manger when the oxen were hungry, and clean it out so crud didn't grow in it after they ate. (Eww.) That farmer would also know that other jobs must be done, like mucking out that stable (eww again) and perhaps using the dried manure for fuel, for applying to his fields, or selling it to another farmer. The oxen could also produce milk on occasion, and they were the heavy equipment of the day. When you wanted to thresh wheat, plow a field, or move a boulder, you yoked your team of oxen and got 'er done. So, in plain language, "if you don't have any oxen, you don't have to clean out the stable, but if you do have some, you can make some money and avoid starving."
Work a little, get back a lot.
Now, I think there's a pretty good lesson there for us. Let's think about it this way --- has anyone ever told you that if you are a Christian, you will be on easy street? Problems will fly out the window and money will fly in? Well, that's not what I heard, nor what I've experienced. How about you?
But, I have found that the more I work at it, trying to be like Christ would have me be, then the more I get. By working at it, I mean studying my Bible, confessing my sins, thanking Him for His blessings to me, and trying to help others. And what do I get? I think Paul said it pretty well.Check out the verses below, and see if you agree. And feel free to add something that you feel I left out, in a comment!
Colossians 1:13-14 Galatians 5:22