Investment Wisdom… from Proverbs

I have been thinking about making a certain sort of investment of late. Basically I have thought of a moving my parents back to their hometown where they have a number of relatives and old friends.  For a number of reasons the town is good for them – e.g. a good church(!), easy driving from place to place, cost of living, cheaper health care, friends and family, etc. I’ve gone back and forth on whether to make this move or not since it will cost a good buck or two.  Subsequent to praying over the matter, I came across an interesting verse with an interesting bit of wisdom:  Proverbs 14:4.

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.” (NIV)

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” (ESV) 


I could not understand this verse. I mean go back and think about it. What do you think it is really saying?

So I did some reading on it on the net. What I found was quite interesting. It actually takes me back to my grandfather’s days as a farmer.  What I recall is that in the village that he lived in he owned a bunch of oxes and buffaloes. These animals were in a backyard type area of his thatched roof home.

What that meant was that you could at times hear the oxen moo right there in his living room type area and at times you could even smell a little bit of their dung in his sleeping area or at times see a muddy hoof-print or two or four here and there in certain parts of his housing area or at times see some spilled hay lying around here and there.  I.e. You could see a slight mess here and there on account of the cows.

Moo-ving on…

So here is the deal. The verse up above is putting before you a couple of options and this relates to investing. What are they?  Consider the following situation:

~ Suppose you have a $X bucks. With this $X  bucks you can do one of two things – invest in something – maybe additional schooling or a software product or a startup … or a cow. Whatever.

~~>Here is the thing though – the $X is basically all you have. If you invest it, then you have nothing left or very little left in the bank. Are you willing to risk it?

Some people will shrug and say – no. They will take the safe or clean option.  They want a clean (= empty) manger and yes they will get it.

Others will take a chance and invest. Yes, the process will be messy. You will have to be involved in negotiations nonstop. You will have to burn the midnight oil many times.  You may be nervous at times because your bank account is low.  Toil and labor will be awaiting you. You may even smell the faint odor of cow dung. Ugh!  Its not clean. But –

“… but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.” ~ Proverbs 14:4