“Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox” (Prov. 14:4).
Regarding farming it is true that oxen are pivotal for crop production. In our scientific era they may not seem significant in some countries, but in many underdeveloped and developing nations they are still the way. If a farmer does not have oxen, he has no means to livelihood. When he has a pair of them, though he may not farm, he rents them out for farming. Thus, he makes revenue.
The Spirit through Solomon wishes to give us a noble teaching. When a person knows what he or she has to do, then they should make effort concerning it. Not a mere effort, but one that is undeterred, influential and believing. On the contrary, if he or she does not know what they should do, any effort done goes in vain, for it was by a hunch and not by conviction. In such efforts there is resentment, disappointment, loss, frustration and eventual failure of strength and confidence.
When it comes to the Lord, all things we take up to do must have been from His knowledge of them. Then it would be like ‘oxen in the manger makes full and there is much revenue.’ The impression of ‘clean’ is empty and the idea of ‘revenue’ is advantage/gain. So, when we have the knowledge of the Lord regarding a matter and do not put in the effort, we remain empty. All the same, when we put an effort where there is no knowledge of God, we remain empty. Though it might seem to the world and to us that we are delivering or achieving something, the fact is we haven’t seen “much revenue,” instead, some revenue or revenue that has no honor and exceptionality. In this there is more burden and sadness than relief and joy.