"Where no oxen are, the manger is clean,
But much revenue comes by
the strength of the ox" (Prov. 14:4).
What does this have to do with evangelism or missions?
I. EVANGELISM IS MESSY.
A. Like the oxen in this proverb, dealing with people--bringing in new people and working with broken lives--makes for a messy barn.
B. I’m not the farmer type, but I do have some insight into that noble lifestyle from my in-laws.
I’ll never forget my first encounter with a row of cow rear ends. The inexperienced city boy soon comes to appreciate that plopping sound and that warm sensation on your feet, resulting from standing too close to the gutter, (something that the experienced farmers know better than to do).
C. Many churches are more concerned with maintaining a clean barn than they are with bringing in the oxen.
II. PEOPLE ARE AS STUBBORN AS OXEN.
Three types of problematic oxen:
1) Those who don’t go where you want them to go.
2) Those who go exactly where you don’t want them to go.
3) Those who simply don’t go.
One of the most important turning points in my life and ministry was the day that I finally let go of the project. . . I turned it over to God.
He alone has the resources to deal with people.
III. THE FRUITFULNESS AND STRENGTH OF THE CHURCH IS IN THE OXEN.
A. Why would anyone want to get involved in outreach? I can think of a zillion reasons why not, many of them with names and faces . . . heartaches, disappointments and frustrations.
B. Why complicate my life getting involved in other people’s problems.
Don’t kid yourself, evangelism requires getting involved. Jesus said, "Make disciples and teach them to obey." I know of no way to do this without getting involved.
C. Two Reasons:
1. Jesus commanded it.
Interesting that He prefaced this command by reminding the disciples that "all authority" had been given to Him. i.e. If we have made Jesus LORD, then we will make disciples.
2. The paradox of life: "Losing self in service to others is in fact the path to life itself." . . . Becoming a part of something bigger than me.
Abraham saw it. (Gen. 12:1-3) . . . "In you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
Can YOU see it? Can you see where your life fits into that bigger picture? That picture that extends right into eternity?