Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox. (Proverbs 14:4)

Every day we use tools. Some tools we use are more complicated than others, but virtually everything we do is accomplished with the use of a tool of some sort. Even the fork, spoon, chopsticks, or other utensil used to eat with is a tool. In fact, everything we utilize to accomplish a task, except for our bare hands, is a tool.

Looking at it this way, the computer is a tool as well. Albeit, it is a quite complex tool, it is nonetheless a tool. Its function is to process data and provide a formatted output of that data. This tool can also be used to communicate inexpensively over long distances when coupled with the appropriate medium. In short, it is quite the ‘nice to have’ tool.

Except when it breaks.

Like the ox mentioned in Proverbs, there is a price that comes with having the tool. In the case of the ox, it is cleaning the stalls periodically. Having been raised on a farm with cattle, I know this is not the enjoyable task at all. It is nasty, and frequently done in the warmer parts of the year so the smell is just wonderful. However, one does get used to it as it is part of having cattle and reaping the blessings thereof. After all, as Proverbs plainly states, much increase is by the strength of the ox. Fields get plowed, logs skidded, barns raised, etc. With cattle: milk, meat and leather are the benefits, along with money when one is sold. The downside is that the stalls must be cleaned periodically.

However, the blessing of having cattle and oxen does outweigh the burden imposed, but there is a burden nonetheless. What this reminds us of, is the fact that there is no “free lunch.” Everything costs at some point. In short, the LORD insured that we would be continually reminded that we are in a fallen state, and are cursed to labor all our life long because of sin:

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis 3:17-19)

And so, in everything on this earth, there is labor — and the need to periodically ‘clean the crib.’ Even though man continually strives to develop ‘labor saving devices’ it creates yet more labor to maintain the labor saving device.

So it is with computers.

At the end of week before last, I decided it was necessary to update the computer I use for writing, web design, graphics editing and all my electronic communication. In fact, I deemed it necessary to update all the computers for which I am responsible, that use Windows XP as their operating system. Of the three I did, two went well. Mine didn’t. Ultimately, I ended up reloading the operating system three times before it would function properly as I was attempting to update the system to Service Pack 3.

Apparently, this particular tool does not like Windows XP SP3. It functions okay on SP2, which is an improvement over what it was. But the cost of the “upgrade” was several days downtime and a complete reload of all software.

There is a price for sin — and it does manifest itself physically. The curse we are under for our sin is very real — and very painful and frustrating at times. The more “labor saving” our tools, the more difficult they are to fix when they break. We will not ‘get around’ the curse.

Do I need the computer? No, not for preaching and teaching. The best messages and lessons are done with only the Bible, and the simple tools of pen, and paper. However, it is worlds easier to type out an article than write it longhand. Moreover, it is far easier to transmit it to many other people. The downside is that occasionally the crib needs to be cleaned and the job turns out to be more difficult than anticipated.

And then there’s owning a home . . .

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