“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” Proverbs 14:4
My friend turned from the sink puzzled. “Pardon me for asking, but why are you memorizing a verse about an ox?”
I was happy to tell her and I’m happy to tell you because in the years when I was knee deep in ankle-biters, overwhelmed by the work a family requires, this principle saved my sanity.
Back before the days of fancy tractors, your hubby could do the hauling and plowing himself or he could employ the strength of an ox. The plus side of NOT owning an ox is that your trough would stay clean. (I’m not a fan of cleaning tubs & showers, so I’ll admit that sounds attractive…) But obviously that limits your harvest because as much as our guys would like to be, they aren’t really “as strong as an ox”.
The down side of owning an ox is that you’d have a mucky trough, but you’d see a great increase and benefit if you could put up with the slobber. As a sleep-deprived, toddler wrangler, I was so encouraged by this verse because it provided proper perspective:
Instead of looking around my house and grumbling at the mess, the laundry & the meals,
I could focus on the increase of love and delight I was reaping because of my family’s presence.
It’s all how I choose to look at things. Will I grumble at the trough or be glad at the abundance it gives evidence for?
We’ve had some struggles with the Grumbly/Glad battle in our house lately, so this little verse has helped us remember this matter of perspective. I’ll include it in hopes that it might help your family too:
Scarlett was a precious girl. No one could deny.
But little things throughout her day would make her whine and cry.
To go to bed, to go to school, to go to clean her room,
Would slump her shoulders, plump her lip and cloud her face with gloom.
“I have to go?”, or “This is it?”, or “Can’t I have more time?”,
Or “He got more than me – NO FAIR!” She could be heard to whine.
Scarlett’s mama hugged her close and murmured with a kiss,
“My dear, by looking at the bad, there’s so much good you miss!”
“Everyone has glasses: A Glad and Grumbly pair.
And every day we have the choice of which ones we will wear.”
But Scarlett would wake up each day, and grab those grumbly glasses.
And EVERYTHING would make her sad; her art, her toys, her classes.
Tired of Scarlett’s spectacles, fewer friends would call.
“Perhaps my grumbliness is not acceptable at all!”
So early that next morning, Scarlett’s Grumbly glasses stayed!
And in their place, the Glad pair sparkled, brightening Scarlett’s day…
Instead of huffing, puffing when she had to clean her room,
So thankful for her pretty space, she gladly got the broom!
Instead of throwing hits or fits when sister got more candy,
Scarlett saw that any treat at all was pretty dandy!
Instead of whiny whimpering as mom got off the bed,
Scarlett felt so grateful they had snuggled, talked and read.
A happy Scarlett placed her glasses safely for the night,
Then took those grumbly glasses – and tucked them out of sight!
So when I look at today…
- I can grumble at refereeing another squabble or I can be glad I get to shape these Littles into Bigs who might impact, brighten and bless this world.
- I can grumble at the rowdy voices, or I can be glad those same voices are in my life to murmur sweetness and make me giggle.
- I can grumble about my husband calling (again) when I’m trying to make lunches or unload the groceries, or I can be glad that I’m the woman my husband wants to share his day with.
- I can grumble at the shoes in the middle of the mudroom floor, or I can be glad those shoes made their way home again.
What about you? Which pair will you wear?