Today I am up a little later than usual, because it is Saturday. It is nearly 10 a.m. at the time of this writing and I am just now finishing an egg, cheese grits, and my first cup of black coffee (in my TTU mug).
I sat down at the computer for a few moments in order to study for tomorrow’s Proverbial Thought post on Proverbs 14:3. Then, as I read the next proverb, 14:4, an additional thought came to mind…
I live with animals, and I’m glad.
Furry and Furless
Animals. Now, when I say, “I live with animals,” don’t get the impression that I live in a barn, although barns are pretty nice if you remodel them. The animals I am referring to are not only the the four-legged, flea-bearing, shoe-chewing canine types, but the 2-legged, child-bearing, shoe-buying female types.
Barns. Sometimes I really do think I am living in a madhouse. Other times I feel like I am living in a barn of the un-remodeled style. But most of the time I am cognizant (I went to college) of the fact that animals of all kinds make messes. Whether they be furry or furless, you can tell where animals live.
Before I get into trouble, let me qualify what I meant by “messes.” My children, my wife, and I do not leave the same kind of messes lying around the house that our four-legged barn-guests are capable of. We know how to use our indoor plumbing.
The kind of mess I am talking about is just the stuff that comes as a result of living a hectic life. For example, clothes aren’t always put away; dishes get piled up; the kitchen table is a community desk; and a remote-controlled helicopter is in the china cabinet (that’s my fault…along with the clothes, dishes, and table).
But what if these messes weren’t there? What if everything in the house looked like a picture from Martha Stewart’s fake family album? Without at least some of the mess, home would be nothing more than a sanitary stable or a clean crib – and that could be bad.
Proverbs 14:4 says, “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.” The New Living Translation puts it this way: “Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.” In other words, a clean stable might be nice, but that’s not always a good thing.
This proverb is trying to tell us that in order to have the grain to make a mess, you need the messer-uppers to harvest the grain. Without the messer-uppers in the stable there will be no harvest – so quit complaining.
A strong family is a family that lives like a family, not like legalistic representation of perfection. It’s nice to have a clean house, for sure. Yet, I would rather live with a bunch of animals (myself included) in a happy barn, than like a white mouse in a sanitary laboratory.
As soon as my wife and daughters read this, my funeral will be a simple affair.
- Proverbs 12:14 (proverbialthought.com)