Thanksgiving is a time when we count our blessings. While it is easy to number certain blessings, we often may need to look a little deeper. Sometimes the work and frustrations of life keep us from seeing the blessings that come because of that work.
Proverbs 14:4 says, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.”
We understand this verse much better after having a farm. A stall stays neat and clean if there are no animals in it. The chicken coop doesn’t need cleaning. The pasture can look neatly mowed with no dung to ruin your shoes. But you will not have eggs or meat on the table! There is a blessing that comes with the mess. Recently, we had 10 Goldendoodle puppies. They have been so much fun and are so precious. They have been a blessing to our family in many ways, but they also have made lots of messes. We don’t have a good dog pen set-up so they have been in our garage and back-yard in a make-shift pen. 10 puppies make a lot of mess!!
While this principle is easy to see with animals on the farm, it is so true of our lives as well. We need to look deeper than just the initial frustration or aggravation and realize the purpose and reward that comes with the work. Most every blessing comes with a level of responsibly and work. I think God created it this way. If you are going to eat vegetables you have to grow them in the fields and deal with weeds and pests. If you are going to have eggs you have to tend to messy chickens. If you are going to have meat you have to deal with livestock. This is how God chose to give us our food at creation.
This is true with children! Houses stay clean and neat, when kids aren’t there, but what a blessing kids are! This is true with most jobs. Every job has lots of frustrations and aggravating qualities, but look at the blessings that come from work. Even the holidays themselves involve lots of work and messes, but remember the purpose and value in them. Relationships have their share of mess and struggles, but blessings come through the work involved in a relationship.
Blessings have a cost. They often require work, responsibility, and sacrifices. But look at the result. Don’t miss out on the blessing, because you don’t want to deal with the mess. An empty stall may look pretty, but you are really going to miss that oxen when you try to pull that plow yourself!