By Toni Ford
There is a story about a young logger who approached a foreman of a logging crew asking for a job.
“That depends,” replied the foreman. “Let’s see if you can cut this tree down in a timely manner.” The young logger stepped forward and skillfully started cutting the giant tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, “You can start Monday.”
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday rolled by, and the young logger was still working on cutting down the tree. On Thursday afternoon, the foreman approached the young logger and said, “You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today. I’m not sure this job is the best for you.”
“But I’m a hard worker,” the young logger objected. “I arrive first, leave last and even have worked through my coffee breaks.”
Sensing the young logger’s integrity, the foreman thought for a minute. He then asked, “Have you been sharpening your axe?” The young logger replied, “No. I’ve been working too hard to take the time to do something like that.”
Our lives are often like this. We sometimes get so busy that we don’t take time to “sharpen the axe.” In today’s world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever but less happy than ever.
Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay sharp, or that we’ve become so busy that we don’t take the time to sharpen our own axe? If we don’t take the time to sharpen our axe, we become dull and lose our effectiveness. There’s nothing wrong with activity and hard work, but we all need time to relax, learn, and grow.
When I think about slowing down and taking time to sharpen my axe, I am reminded of what the Lord tells us from His Word.
Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.” When life gets busy and so many people or things from the world start competing for our attention, it becomes harder and harder to hear from God or to know the direction He is leading us. Notice in this verse that in order to know and hear from God, we must first “be still.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1 – “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” I truly believe the Lord speaks to us and leads in different ways throughout the seasons of life. The Lord often has called me to a season of rest, which means slowing down or saying “no” to more things than I say “yes” to. If I obey Him and willing to slow down in those times, I always walk away with more insight, closer to the Lord and more refreshed.
1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.” This verse is a great reminder for me to slow down and give Him all the burdens and challenges I am trying to carry on my own. He wants to care for each of us, but we must first slow down and give Him the things that are bothering us.
Dear Lord, please help each of us to slow down this summer, take time to rest and be still. Please help us to remember to sharpen our axe and stay sharp by surrendering to you the things that matter to us, spending more time in Your Word, in prayer and in worship. Thank you for the reminders from your Word and the promises that come from taking time to rest!