Not only is the manger empty--there is no hay on the floor, no manure to shovel or give off its fragrance, no equipment (tackle) cluttering the walls and slipping off of hooks--the barn is meticulous where no oxen live.
So it is in the house where no children abide. The beds are made with crisp, clean sheets; no toys in view--only perfectly decorate walls and dusted shelves, each throw blanket is folded and put away with care, not a single sock or shoe out of place. No mounding laundry, no crumbs on the floor. The bathrooms sparkle and even the oven is clean!
BUT just one ox brings abundant harvest! The oxen's strength pulls the plow, the wagon and the thresher. He also pushes the wheat grinder and carries supplies. The owner's work is multiplied immeasurably by just one ox. Oh yes, now there is evidence of an oxen's presence--scattered hay, smelly manure, tackle abundant. To the owner's work was added the care of his oxen, is it worth it?
Today I will choose to see each mess, each inconvenience and each conversation as a gift from God. These children are my abundant harvest and will multiply the harvest if I care for them well now while they share my same address.
The day will come soon enough when the bedrooms will be empty. So until then, Father, help me embrace these days and what they require of me. Renew a right spirit within me, that has vision for training, correcting and rebuking, as well as, encouraging, uplifting and hugging these children--today and every day.