God's been laying it on my heart to remind us of the verse that started this ministry.
NLT...Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.
NKJV...Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.
Last night I saw my one-year old granddaughter sitting in her highchair waiting for someone to put food in front of her to eat. Without her parents’ hard work, going to the store, purchasing food, and placing it on her tray, she'd probably starve, become seriously malnutritioned, or even die. To prevent any of that from happening, her parents saw the need and importance to get her nutritious foods that would sustain her till her next meal. The consistency of doing this at each meal and every day for their child will become evident as she begins to physically grow and mature. That’s what we’d expect from someone loving another individual that much.
The Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:24-29 describes his labor for the Church. He says, "24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me."
The Apostle Paul brought to the table something filling, rich, and hopeful – God's Word, His Son, and His promises. Why put himself through, experience and endure suffering, afflictions, and exhaustion? So that he could help produce maturation in those God had entrusted him with. That’s what a loving servant does for God’s people.
What or who is the trough close to you? Is it someone within your church, your home, yourself? Much increase comes by the strength of an ox. Takes time. Takes action/initiative. Takes work. Takes consistency. Takes love and concern. Takes the right kind and amount of physical and spiritual food. Are you feeding others? Are you being fed yourself? Take the initiative...be that strong ox that goes out and does something about the empty troughs around you. Bring something back that'll sustain them, fill them, give them the nutrients they need, and cause them to mature spiritually. The Apostle Paul, Peter, and even Jesus Himself set the loving examples before us...they went to the extremes because they recognized the need and importance for spiritual growth in others. How about you? What'll you do when you see a trough that’s empty or lacking? Do you even have a concern for the increase in spiritual maturity for yourself and others? Maybe this subject is something to talk with God about today. To have a heart to heart with Him and then for you to take the appropriate immediate action(s).
Practicing His Presence,
Men Helping Men Grow In Christ
1 Corinthians 3:2 (ESV) I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,
Hebrews 5:12 (NLT) You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.
1 Peter 2:2 (NLT) Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment,
John 4:35 (NLT) You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.
As Henry Kissinger once said, “The task of the [Ox Strong] leader is to get their people from where they are to where they have not been.”
Song: Do Something by Matthew West
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 2 granddaughters, a police chaplain, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter