Friday, August 22, 2008

Sharpening the Saw

Ecclesiastes 10:10 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

10 If the ax is dull
and its edge unsharpened,
more strength is needed
but skill will bring success.

I love to cook and am never more happy than when in my kitchen, chopping and slicing and preparing something delicious. My friends all seem to end up there sooner or later, seated at the table chopping fruit or vegetables as we laugh and talk and drink cups of tea.

For Christmas, Susan gave me a set of good quality kitchen knives. They sit on my countertop, stored in a wooden knife block ready for duty. I thank her in my heart every day as I select this one or that to use, depending on the task. A good tool is a wonderful thing.

I still remember the first few days I had them; slicing through meat or vegetables with delightful ease. I looked for things to chop just for the pleasure of using them. What a difference it made to use a good sharp knife--every job was so much easier.

Reading Ecclesiastes 10:10 a day or so ago, a verse about a dull blade, I thought of my work. Just like my kitchen knives, our skills have the potential for dullness.

It is easy to get into ruts, be complacent; or tolerate personal weaknesses instead of making the effort to overcome them. Sharpening an ax or knife though, involves some friction or even grinding. If blades could talk I am sure they might protest. But how much more useful they are afterwards.

God uses circumstances or people to grind away at the rust on our blades. It is never comfortable and that is one of the tests. But energy and life infuses our work when we are "in the zone;" working in harmony and partnership with God.

The honing of my blade will make me more useful in the hand of my Master, therefore, I will rejoice in it.

Proverbs 27:17 (The Message)
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
17 You use steel to sharpen steel,
and one friend sharpens another.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Sharp cuts quick and clean.

Dull crushes and tears.