Pieces of “homespun” wisdom can help us in life.
“Kick a dog enough times and even kind words will make him cautious.”
“Only drink from water upstream from the herd.”
“Don’t go barefoot through a briar patch.”
Little pieces of wisdom stick with us.
God gives us wisdom in Proverbs that may sound a little like the “homespun” counsel: “Where there are no oxen, the trough is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of the ox.” (Proverbs 14:4)
Important work can create an untidy life at times. It’s like a construction zone. To build something special, you have to deal with the dust, dirt, and noise. When we build something special, there will be the mess that comes with construction.
That’s what God teaches us through Proverbs. To do the important things for Him and others, we can’t settle for a “clean trough.” There is a price to pay for building something special. We want the end-result, but we also have to go through the messes made to get there.
We can’t live extravagantly for God’s glory as long as we seek to protect our place of comfort and ease. We can’t make a greater difference in our world as long as we are satisfied by a clean trough. To build something special for God and others, we must pay the price of the construction zone.
There is value in a “messy trough” when God’s glory is our goal. It really comes down to what’s most important in our daily lives. A “clean trough” makes things easier for us, but to grow and build for God’s glory, we’re going to deal with sawdust on the floor. You and I will take a step forward toward building something special when we believe that God is more pleased with a messy trough for Him than a clean trough for us.
Once we value the messy trough, we must commit to pay the price. We must give ourselves, fully focused upon the goal of the work rather than the ease and comfort of not doing all that God desires. We must give ourselves, fully focused upon the goal of the work rather than the simple life of limited service. We must give ourselves, fully focused on the goal of God’s greater glory, no matter how costly or messy that goal may be for us.
So, let’s make a commitment today to pay the price of a “clean trough” for God’s glory. Let’s commit to pay a greater price even if it makes our lives a little messier. God’s pleasure is worth our pain! Today, let’s move from the “clean trough” attitude to the attitude of “whatever it takes” to build something special for God and others.
Dr. Eric Thomas is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Norfolk.
First Baptist Norfolk meets at 312 Kempsville Road in Norfolk.
There is also a Chesapeake campus of First Baptist that meets at 1016 Greenbrier Parkway.
For more information and directions visit: www.firstnorfolk.org