“Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.”
It’s harvest time!
All that work, coming to fruition. The planning. The purchasing of materials. The planting. The watering. (Oh, the watering I did this year!) The weeding.
And the work isn’t finished by a long shot.
There is a lot of chopping, seasoning, cooking, and canning to come to be able to properly enjoy what took an entire summer to produce.
From beginning to end, there is an element of effort involved. It takes time. Energy. Intent. Thought.
And muscle power.
And at every phase, it gets a little messy. From planting through to harvest, my hands and feet need constant washing. And through the salsa and tomato sauce season, the kitchen gets sloshed and seeded and splattered with juicy tomato pulp.
It’s a hands-on affair.
If I never bought a package of seeds, never prepared the soil, never marked off rows and planted those seeds, never cared for the growing plants, never watered or weeded or fertilized or staked, it would be pretty silly for me to go out and expect to find tomatoes.
Then why y’all looking for character where you never planted it? Never watered it? Never wrestled with a hard growing season to support it?
See, reaping positive character traits is just like producing a crop of tomatoes. They don’t just happen. From start to finish there is an element of labour – from deliberately choosing the raw materials to nurturing and enhancing what is growing, to gathering, to producing something beautiful and satisfying to yourself and others around you.
It gets a little messy.
Like this proverb.
An ox makes a mess. A big mess – and it won’t clean up after itself, either. But back in the day if you didn’t have a big beast of burden to do all the farm work to be done, you were in trouble. In other words – doing anything of value is a hands-on business. Your fingernails will get caked. Your toes will get grimy. You’ll sweat. You’ll be called upon to shovel some smelly stuff out of the way from time to time and you may not smell so good yourself.
But you will produce a harvest.
Oh, you were expecting to stay nice and clean? Keep your manicure intact? Maybe dress up and look all pretty and just pick up what you want from a shelf ready-made?
Honey, that’s not harvest. That’s grocery shopping. And it only works with milk and eggs.
Not kindness, compassion, generosity, or patience. Those don’t come from a store. They are home grown.
Get your hands dirty growing a little good character with me?
Father, harvest is a busy, delightful, and messy process. Thank You for what can be sown and grown and harvested in us as we embrace the messy process of character development. Do a good work in us to produce wonderful fruit as we labour! Amen.