“If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success.”
Here we have a very practical lesson for life. A dull axe requires its user to exert more strength and rewards him with less production.
How often we feel the pressure to keep swinging to meet deadlines and face challenges without taking into consideration the need to rest and be refreshed. How often we overestimate our own strength and underestimate the challenge before us.
A dull axe looks just like a sharpened axe to the naked, undiscerning eye. The difference between the two is found in the edge. The effectiveness of the two is determined by the imperceptible differences in the width of the edge—a microscopic difference measured in millimeters that has a macroscopic impact.
It is often the very small things that seem so unimportant that make us less effective in our service. It is so easy to ignore the quiet disciplines that help us to maintain a sharp edge. The time spent alone on our knees before God, the hours spent in reading and meditating on the Word of God, the time with our loved ones that remind us that our lives are an important part of a social fabric. It is easy to become so absorbed in the labor that we lose sight of the purpose for that labor.
Keeping a sharp edge means that we must periodically stop to evaluate our labor. The process of evaluation can be better served by allowing others input. Proverbs 27:17 states, “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.” Others can usually help us to understand what is happening in our blind-spots. God has gifted others with spiritual gifts that are different from ours thus equipping them with different insight into the issues of life.
It is certainly worth momentarily ceasing from labor in order to evaluate the condition of the axe and to sharpen its edge. Such a respite will help us to become more productive for a longer period of time. You deserve a break today!