Sharpening Our Axes
What do we do when we feel disconnected from God? What do we do when we have lost our cutting edge? There’s a story in the Bible about when the people of Israel were cutting trees down when a miracle took place.
“One day, the guild of prophets came to Elisha and said, ‘You can see that this place where we’re living under your leadership is getting cramped—we have no elbow room. Give us permission to go down to the Jordan where each of us will get a log. We’ll build a roomier place.’ Elisha said, ‘Go ahead.’ One of them then said, ‘Please! Come along with us!’ He said, ‘Certainly.’ He went with them. They came to the Jordan and started chopping down trees. As one of them was felling a timber, his ax head flew off and sank in the river. ‘Oh no, master!’ he cried out. ‘And it was borrowed!’ The Holy Man said, ‘Where did it sink?’ The man showed him the place. He cut off a branch and tossed it at the spot. The axhead floated up” (2 Kings 6:1-6).
Why is that story in the Bible? Because it teaches spiritual truths on what to do when you’ve lost your cutting tool. This ax head represents the cutting power in our life. What do we do when we have lost our passion? What do we do when we are in a spiritual slump? What do we do when going through a spiritual desert or a dry spell?
When we don’t feel close to God, what do we do? What do we do when we don’t feel His presence in our lives? When we feel like our prayers aren’t getting above the ceiling over our heads, when we feel empty inside when we have lost our cutting edge, what do we do?
The story is told of two men who had the tiring job of clearing a field of trees. The contract called for them to be paid per tree. Bill wanted the day to be profitable, so he grunted and sweated, swinging the ax relentlessly. On the other hand, Ed seemed to be working about half as fast. He even took a rest and sat off to the side for a few minutes. Bill kept chopping away until every muscle and tendon in his body was screaming. Bill was sore, but Ed was smiling and telling jokes. Amazingly, Ed had cut down more trees! Bill said, “I noticed you sitting while I worked without a break. How’d you outwork me?” Ed smiled. “Did you notice I was sharpening my ax while I was sitting?“
Is it possible that we are struggling, tired, and overwhelmed from living life because we have lost our cutting tools, or we are simply using a dull blade? Have we lost our cutting tools, or have we neglected to sharpen our lives by not reading God’s Word, not praying, not worshiping, not serving, and by not gathering as a church?
Do we lack the wisdom of the Lord’s Word in our lives?
Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the ax is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success.”
Do we lack the relationship that sharpens us in our lives?
Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”