Keeping the Ax Sharp

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Have you ever come to the place in your life that you feel dry and dull? Maybe you have had an onslaught of work that seems to be piling up or your visiting family has gotten you to the point of exhaustion. Whatever the case might be you have found yourself totally spent and depleted. You have poured out so much that there isn’t one more ounce you can give. The cook’s statement, “it’s well done and on the verge of being burnt” describes you and where you seem to be.

I believe many find themselves in that familiar place more often than not.  In times of spiritual dryness, we need to be saturated in God. If we have become dry, it’s a good indication that we haven’t been soaking in the river that flows from God’s throne. In other words, when we become dull and to the point of not being effective for the cause of Christ, we need to get in the Lord’s presence.

William D. Boyd in his writing “I Work Too Hard” tells a story about a young man who approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, “Start Monday!” Then 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.”

One of the enemy’s biggest strategies is getting us so busy that we never stop to sharpen our spiritual ax.  If our ax is dull then we use our own strength until we are so ineffective we burn out. Without a discipline of prayer in our lives we will become duller with the more work we do. Even when it is good righteous work that pleases God. Prayer is one of the very things that sharpens our spiritual edge.

Unfortunately, in trying times and being spiritually depleted, many people take a sabbatical, stopping the Lord’s work to gain rest and restoration. But if we look at the scripture it wasn’t until God was done with His work, creating the universe, that He stopped and rested, (Gen.2:2). When we become spiritually dull, we need to run to God in prayer and sit at His feet, soaking in the river of life not run away from Him. I do believe we can get off balance with our work unto the Lord, as we see Martha did in the Gospels. But let me also say stopping your work to do nothing is also wrong. It is essential that we spend time in His presence in prayer. If we are continuously basking in Him we will never get dull or burned out but will instead be fired up and sharp in the things of God. So let me leave you with this last statement. Don’t get so busy doing good works that you don’t have time to pray.

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