Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest. Proverbs 14:4 (NLT)
The next time you are tempted to complain about the messiness of life stop and think. The cause may actually be the source of your greatest joy. “I must confess my stable’s a mess, but that’s the price for my success.” That’s the Stuart translation of the verse above. Here are some further thoughts on a blog post on this same verse entitled “Stop complaining and feed the ox.” (April 26, 2010)
Life is messy. The business of living constantly creates messes that need to be cleaned up. Life and messes are inseparable. To live is to deal with messes. From morning until night we are confronted with messes requiring our attention. There are beds to be made, clothes to be put away, counters to be cleaned, dishes to be done, floors to be swept, desks to be cleared, on and on it goes. And add people into this equation and the messes and complexities of life are multiplied.
But before you complain about the messiness of life consider the alternative. The only place you’ll never have to worry about being a mess, the only place where what you straighten never has to be redone, is a coffin.
Even our best efforts at simplifying our lives and living a “less is more” lifestyle will of necessity be messy. Spouses, children, jobs, the very world we live in will always add complexities to our lives. But these are the very things that God uses to bring blessing and meaning to life.
How about taking a one-day No Complaint Challenge? Try to go one day without complaining about anything. Take it from me, its tough – I’ve tried it. I am a sigh’er. My wife has been helpful in pointing this out to me. You may not hear me complain about things with words, but I sigh and groan. Sorry, but that is complaining.
And do you know what the two most common complaints I often hear from myself and others are? They are typically about being too busy and being overly tired. To be honest, nobody wants to hear about how busy or swamped we are and about how tired and short we are on sleep. Those complaints basically are saying, I don’t have the time or energy for you or for the task at hand. And as a result, it’s my excuse for not giving you my “A” game.
Paul, in his great letter to the Philippians says two things that encourage a one-day No Complaint Challenge. “Do everything without complaining.” (Philippians 2:13) And “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
I dare you to take the one-day No Complaint Challenge! See what you discover.