Some years ago a young man looking for work approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked him for a job. “It depends,” replied the foreman. “Let’s see you take this one down.” The young man stepped forward and skillfully felled a great tree. The foreman was impressed and exclaimed, “you start Monday!”
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday rolled by. 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 asked, “I thought you paid on Fridays.” “Normally we do,” answered the foreman, “but we’re letting you go today because you’ve fallen behind.
Our daily charts show that you’ve dropped from first place on Monday to last place on Wednesday. “But I’m a hard worker” the young man objected, “I arrive first and leave last, and I even work through my coffee breaks!”
The foreman, sensing the young man’s integrity, thought for a minute and then asked, “Have you been sharpening your axe?” The young man replied, “Well, no, sir. I’ve been working too hard to take the time to sharpen my axe.”
Have you taken some time to sharpen your axe? The reasons for not taking the time to stay sharp are myriad, but as believers we stay sharp by relying on God as a first response and not as a last resort. We stay sharp, even in a busy world, but not neglecting the most important activities that nourish our souls.
Why don’t you sit down today and read your Bible for 15 minutes? Read about Jesus and start reading the gospel of Mark. If in your lifetime all you did was know Jesus through the gospel of Mark you would be just fine.
Why don’t you pray this day like you’re speaking to the most comfortable Father figure imaginable in the most comfortable setting imaginable. He’s inviting you, welcoming you, to draw close. Tell Him what’s important to you and ask for His help. He’ll either lighten your load or strengthen your back. And if you are too weary and beaten down to pray on your own, ask for an Aaron and Hur (Exodus 17) to come alongside you and help you tap into a fresh stream of Holy Spirit refreshment.
Abraham Lincoln once said: “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”
“If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success.” — Ecclesiastes 10:10