2 Kings 6: 1-7 tells the story of Elisha the prophet’s miraculous rescue of an ax-head that was accidentally dropped in the water. Elisha threw a light stick on the water, and the ax-head floated to the surface. I recently read a 2007 article called “Summer Sabbath” in Faith Today in which the author connected the lost ax-head, which was borrowed, with Jesus’ parable of the talents. He said that our talents, which are gifts, and are therefore like borrowed things, borrowed from God, presumably, can be restored to us by those who can make heavy things buoyant. He recommended that we surround ourselves with those who, by their closeness to God and their compassion for us, can make this kind of restoration possible in our lives. This is in the context of us losing our ax-heads either by under using or over using them.
This analogy of course spoke deeply to my spirit because it connected with the work of restoration that God is doing for me. So much has been heavy and sunk to the bottom of my life. To pick up talents that have been long buried or never activated has seemed almost impossible, through many negative stories I have lived out over the years. Well meaning people in ministry to whom I have gone for help and guidance often buried my talents deeper, felt they should be put away because God had something else for me to do, or retrieved them on condition that they would steward and use them in their own visions rather than allowing me to discover the ways in which God wanted to use them in my life. When I finally was led to those who could truly enable the process of restoration in a deep and lasting way, I discovered many lost ax-heads. Like the unknown man in the story, I cried out for help to rescue the drowned talents.
This capacity to make heavy things buoyant is something we all have, especially in Christ. In simple or in complex processes we can all become engaged, through prayer, through loving words, through insight or wise counsel, in restoring others to their full potential, in Christ, and in their humanity. As Saint Irenaus said, “The glory of God is man fully alive”. We each need to have such people there for ourselves, and to be such people for others.