Proverbs 14:4

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

When there are no oxen, the farmer does not have the trouble of feeding them or cleaning up after them. He can keep his barn nice and neat. His one problem is that he cannot plow his fields! If he desires abundant crops, then he needs his oxen and must be willing to invest in them. The moral, then, is that if we desire to reap wealth, we must be willing to put in the labor and make the sacrifices to produce a harvest.

Our church could save a lot of money if we did not spend so much on missions and ministry. Our facilities would be far easier to maintain if we gave them a rest during the week and not host a school or conduct weekly meetings and ministry. All we would lose would be abundant crops of souls saved and discipled.

Risk and sacrifice are necessary for achieving worthwhile goals. The risk may be money or emotional vulnerability or pride; the sacrifice may require years of preparation or hard labor. What makes the risk and sacrifice acceptable to undergo is the greatness of the goal.

What is your goal today? To make a deal? To pass a test? Here was the apostle Paul’s goal that gave him the motivation to suffer and to achieve beyond ordinary ability: “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahed, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

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