Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.
– Proverbs 14:4
This proverb is straightforward. We might say, “You can’t be productive without having messes to clean up.” Keeping the barn, or the crib, clean is far easier and longer lasting when there are on oxen. The problem is apparent because a clean crib is not the point. Applications of this proverb are numerous. Many want a clean house and life and therefore want no children. Many want a clean church and restrict evangelism. God created man to work productively and make a gain in the earth (Genesis 1:27-29). Jesus reinforced this principle in the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:12-27). That servant who tried to keep his master’s money clean was called a “wicked servant.” I suppose we can add a clean crib to the sluggard’s excuses for avoiding work (Proverbs 22:13; 26:13).