Proverbs 14:1 “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.”
Without my family in and out and through the house 24-7, it would be pretty easy to keep a clean, orderly house. One day, my children will establish homes of their own, and I assume my house will be easier to keep clean, and a bit more quiet. Right now, we have ten people actually dwelling in our house. Where people live, there is clean-up; there is work. Sometimes, my children bemoan the necessity to help clean, to put away, to pick up, to straighten. Sometimes, I bemoan the fact myself. I must remember that in order to raise this family for the Lord, there is hard work involved – not just physical clean up, but also spiritual warfare – praying for their hearts. A showcase house is dreamy to look through, but it is not lived in. My home – my family – is not a showcase; it is a continuous work of cleaning up messes, straightening out problems, and seeking God for wisdom in it all.
A perfect picture is given in this verse about oxen. We have some dear rancher/farmer friends who raise Angus beef and wheat. Their ranch is a beautiful, peaceful place. They have horses, cows, lambs, tractors, space, guns, ponds, barns, a bunkhouse – all the “cowboy” stuff that usually enters the dreams of little ones at some point in life. If you stay at the ranch longer than for an evening of good fellowship, you will realize the cowboy life is major hard work coupled with a dependence on God to bring the increase. So it is with our homes.
“Those who take pains about their ground are likely to reap the profit of it. Those who keep that about them which is for use and service, not for state and show…are likely to thrive”. -Matthew Henry