Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox. – Proverbs 14:4
Living as I do (in the middle of Pennsylvania) it is easy to understand that farming is a messy business. A gentle breeze on a summer day often carries the pungent reminder that cows, pigs, chickens, and sheep produce more than milk, ham, eggs, and wool! If you want a “clean” job, don’t farm.
The same might be said about Christ’s service.
Those who prefer their ministries “neat and tidy” also like them “dead.” Ministry, like farming, is a messy business. An abundant harvest is only possible in the “presence of” and “ministry to” imperfect people who are moving forward in their personal sanctification.
In other words, if we are going to serve the Lord and partner with Him in the growth of His kingdom on earth, we better get used to the odor.
The Christian life requires hard work. Our sanctification is a process wherein we are coworkers with God. We have the promise of God’s assistance in our labor, but His divine help does not annul our responsibility to work (Phil. 2:12-13). – R. C. Sproul