Sharpen Your Axe
August 10, 2023
From Pastor Joseph Wamack
A young man approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job. "That depends," replied the foreman. "Let's see you fell (take down) this tree." The young man stepped forward and repeatedly swung his axe until he had skillfully felled a great tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, "You can start Monday."
Monday morning the young man arrived early, eager to start working and show his strength and ability with his ax. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday rolled by—the young man leaving each day sweaty and exhausted. But on Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, "You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today."
Startled, the young man replied, "I thought you paid on Friday."
"Normally we do," said the foreman. "But we've got to let you go-because you've fallen way behind. Our daily felling charts show you've dropped from first place on Monday to last place today. Something has changed."
"But I'm a hard worker," the young man objected. "I arrive first, leave last, and even have worked through my lunch breaks!"
The foreman, sensing the young man's integrity, thought for a minute, and then asked, "Have you been sharpening your ax?"
The young man replied, "No sir, I've been working too hard cutting down trees to take time to sharpen my axe!"
Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don't take time to "sharpen the ax." In today's world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but many times we are less happy and productive than ever. Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay sharp?
There's nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But we can get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life; to be healthy, to be balanced, to be with family, to eat well, to be alone and listen to "the still small voice of God." We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow. God needs time to reach us. We can’t fill other’s cups while our pitcher is empty. We can’t take down the challenging trees in our life with a dull, unsharpened ax.
For most of us, we need to take a moment and reprioritize. Life is too important to just slide by on what we have down in the past. We can associate busyness with productivity, but they are not always the same. If we don't take time to sharpen the ax, we will become dull. Stay sharp, friends!