I’ve heard phrases like “ministry is messy because people are involved” and never had a problem understanding it. As soon as you add people (yourself included) into anything, you add a mess. Well, today I was reading Proverbs 14 and something just jumped out at me. Verse 4, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.”
Jesus always referred to the people we’re leading to Him as crops. In Matthew 13 He shares the parable of the sower and then explains that parable. The sower is the one spreading the word and the new believers are the result of that seed, growing up like crops. Just prior to that in Matthew 9:37 He says “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” referring to the fact that there are plenty of people to hear the message but not enough to go out spreading the word.
But think of what the that Proverb was saying. If you want to have a clean manger, the only way to accomplish that is to have no ox. However if you want crops, you can’t achieve that without the ox. This is the natural issue with ministry. In order to accomplish amazing things (abundant crops) you will need plenty of workers (oxen). The more workers you have, your manger will not be clean.
But this is the point. When things get messy in your ministry, don’t stress about the mess, revel in the fact that you have plentiful workers. Since we’re all sinners who mess up frequently, when you get more and more of us together, you’re gonna have a mess. But what Solomon (the wisest who ever lived) is saying in this Proverb is that this is just fine. If we want abundant results, we should willingly accept the abundant mess that comes with it. For the mess is temporary, but the abundant crops are for eternity.