“Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest” (Proverbs 14:14).

A wonderful little kernel of truth lies neatly tucked among the shelves of God’s library of Wisdom. Listen to this powerful insight: “Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant EMPTY MANGERharvest.”

On the surface that short gem seems to only state the obvious. Everyone knows that a barn without a cow is a clean place. And any rancher worth his brand would tell you that having a cow is better than not having a cow.

So what’s the big deal? Take a second to look beyond the obvious. Hear the principle. “There is no milk without some manure. Some disturbance is the price of growth and accomplishment.” The point is, if you want the milk, you have to put up with the manure. It’s true of cows and barns, of family and children, of business and customers, and it is especially true of pastors and churches.

With the roses comes the thorns. As a pastor I have learned that most people will appreciate you, love you, support you, and pray for you. But there is no way you can please everyone. You will have enemies. You will have people who want to tear down your ministry. Who will criticize anything and everything you do. There will be people whom you can never please.

At times you will want to pull your hair out and long for the days of peace and quiet and order.  But this one thing I have learned as I’ve dealt with the barbs. When the cow is in the barn, things will get a little messy, but if you will………

* Consider yourself uniquely blessed by God.

* Not panic or be afraid.

* Acknowledge God as Lord even over this event.

* Be ready to give a witness.

* Keep a good conscience……….. the manure won’t smell so bad!


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