How Sharp Are You?

    In Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome, Kent Hughes told the following story:
    “Some years ago 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 this tree.’ The young man stepped forward and skillfully felled a great tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, ‘Start Monday!’
    “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by, and Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, ‘You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today.’
    “Startled, he replied, ‘I thought you paid on Friday.’ ‘Normally we do,’ answered the foreman, ‘but we’re letting you go today because you’ve fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you’ve dropped from first place on Monday to last on Wednesday.’
    “‘But I’m a hard worker,’ the young man objected. ‘I arrive first, leave last, and even have worked through my coffee breaks!’
    “The foreman, sensing the boy’s integrity thought for a minute and then asked, ‘Have you been sharpening your ax?’
    “The young man replied, ‘I’ve been working too hard to take the time.’”
    The lumberjack was given another chance and having re-sharpened his ax, once again exceeded all other workers. It’s amazing the difference a little sharpening makes!
    I work too often with a dull ax. Prayer is hard for me. I have to work harder at spending extended time in prayer than anything else. I don’t always feel like praying. But when I let it go, my work becomes inefficient and I use up more energy while getting less accomplished; I become more easily discouraged and I lose sight of the nature of my work.
    Have you been sharpening your ax? Is it a priority to you to keep your life at peak efficiency or is praying near the end of your daily agenda. What about corporate prayer? Is prayer a priority in your life group or an after thought? 
    Jim Elliot, a missionary slain by the Auca Indians in the 1950’s, once said: “God is still on His throne and man is still on his footstool. There’s only a knee’s distance in between.” After his life was taken, his prayer for the Aucas was answered. Jim’s wife, Elizabeth Elliot, returned to the Auca tribe and witnessed hundreds of conversions due to her husband’s testimony and prayers. Today there are thriving indigenous churches in that region.
    God delights in answering the cries of our hearts. But we must have the faith and commitment to go before Him believing He hears and answers prayer. Don’t let a day go by without it! Otherwise, you are chopping wood with a dull ax.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply