Sharpen the axe

2017-10-29
Passage: Ecclesiastes 10:10

Introduction

There is a need for urgency and efficiency in our day just as in the days of Noah as he built the ark with a sense of urgency and commitment. It was meant to preserve and save lives and so are we.

How devoted will you have been to build with urgency, excellence and commitment if you had his job? Your name may not be Noah but what you are called to build with your life is meant to save lives!

Will you also dedicate your life to build with excellence – that God may use your life to build a place of saving and salvation for people?

I want to address the issue of efficiency for God and that it is urgent to find out how you can sharpen your life in serving God.

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right thing. The wisdom of God referred to in James 3 verse 13 has a lot to do with living a fruitful and productive life for God.

How effective are you for God in a measurable way?

How can you see increased effectiveness for God in your life?

 

Ecclesiastes 10:10 NIV

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

 

Skill can also be translated as wisdom. Doing life with God’s wisdom brings skill that “sharpens” us to be effective and productive for God.

In order to be effective and efficient for God there needs to be a sharpening in your life.

 

Axes become dull.

Why does an axe become dull? It is mostly because it is used! Slide 5 – dull ax

It can also be that an axe becomes dull if it is used in a wrong way or for the wrong purpose.

When you find that your axe – your efficiency for God, is compromised or not as it should be, don’t ditch the axe. Get is sharpened!

Don’t beat yourself up when your axe is dull. An axe in use becomes dull. It is part of its cycle, it is part of life

 

Don’t swing harder!

When you know more or less how many blows is required for a certain thickness of tree to topple then you know when it takes double the time, that your axe is blunt!

Don’t do the default thing as most people do when they don’t see the breakthrough or the productivity required – they swing harder Slide 7 – Man swinging harder – they work harder. The secret when in pursuit of greater effectiveness for God is not to work harder but smarter!

The duller the axe the greater the power that is required to see any effect.

Discernment will tell you something is wrong if that tree is still standing after 600 hard blows!

If you become aware that your ax is dull, the first thing to do is to STOP!

Stop and inspect the edge. Take note that you can only inspect the edge of an axe when you stop the activity. Trying to inspect the edge of an axe while the axe is in use will result in serious injury! STOP and allow God to inspect your axe.

Sharpening is a process that starts with stopping, looking (see) and then proceeding to the phase where you plan and put systems and patterns in place.

Implementing and adjustment and persistence must follow this.

 

How to sharpen the axe.

Sharpen your efficiency by:

  • Becoming a life long learner – a student for life! Be teachable and quick to learn first and foremost from your walk and relationship with Jesus.
  • Being courageous to implement what you have learnt and try new things.
  • Relating and associating with the right company – you become like those who you spend most time with. Who they are will rub off on you. It is the law of association.

Surround yourself with wise friends, teachers and coaches!

Surround yourself with people who will help to sharpen your life and make your more effective for God. Surround yourself with positive and wise builders.

Proverbs 27:17 NIV

 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another

Avoid people and friends who only tell you what you want to hear or avoid conflict when there is a necessity for something to be said that can improve your efficiency for God!

Obeying! Apply! Implement what God says! Put into practice what your wise friends and teachers say! Application of God’s Word and wise advice is what will sharpen your ax! Even if an ax lies right next to the stone or the grinding wheel for hours it does not mean that it is sharpened!

The iron and the stone must connect. It causes friction that gives the ax its edge back! I recon the reason why some people avoid this is because it holds the possibility of conflict. Things can become a bit heated and the sparks can fly Slide 10 in the process of sharpening! It is the same in your sharpening for efficiency! It will include the prospect of some conflict! Sparks will fly and things can become heated! Don’t avoid sharpening because you are afraid of conflict or criticism.

Keeping on! Persevere! Persist! Practice makes perfect! Endurance pays!

Don’t give up doing what God says!

Recap

Practical wisdom

There is a wonderful invitation from God for each person who desires to be more effective and efficient – Scripture tells us God invites all who need wisdom to ask Him for it and that He promise to give it freely. Slide 13 James 1:5

The wisdom you need to be effective and efficient for God is a practical wisdom. The text verse in Ecclesiastes 10:10 ends with the words; “…skill will bring success”. In some translations, the word “skill” is replaced by “wisdom”.

It brings me to the conclusion that God’s wisdom is a practical wisdom that expresses itself in skill – doing things well and doing them right!

That is what brings success!

 

Application

The wonderful invitation from God to ask for wisdom in James 1, comes in the context of the tests and complexities of real life for which we need faith, perseverance and the practical wisdom of God!

 

Sharpen your axe and then keep swinging for success!

May God use your life sharpened by His wisdom and skill to be efficient and effective for Him!

Effective and efficient people make a real difference for God in this world.

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