Keeping your axe sharp is a great word picture for spiritual disciplines. It is impossible for the lumberjack to chop down a tree with a dull axe. He must have a sharp axe to be productive and must continually keep it sharp.
When we talk about spiritual disciplines, we usually look at prayer, bible study, fasting, stewardship, service, and evangelism to name a few. But one aspect that we neglect to discuss in this conversation is the one who wields the axe. We do not discipline ourselves so WE can do more – we discipline ourselves so that GOD can do more with us.
We usually picture ourselves holding the axe instead of us actually being the axe.
“The axe cannot boast of the trees it has cut down. It could do nothing but for the woodsman. He made it, he sharpened it, and he used it. The moment he throws it aside; it becomes only old iron. O that I may never lose sight of this.” From Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders
Our goal is to see ourselves as a tool in the hand of the master. He decides how and when we are to be used. That’s what it means to be a slave to Christ. We make ourselves available and He takes our little and does much with it.
It reminds me of going on a mission trip to Nicaragua. The ministry leader of our trip is a guy named Terry. He has all the connections, knows the area, knows the language and has the plan. When we get up in the morning, the first thing we do is ask Terry “what do you want us to do?” Sometime he will say load up let’s hike, or dig a hole, or go talk to those people, or wait. Whatever he tells us to do – we do.
That is the way it should be for us everyday. Rise early and seek direction from God. Then do it with the best of our ability.
- Do you seek God at the start of everyday?
- Do you offer yourself to Him to be used by Him?
- Do you set your own agenda or do you let God set your agenda?
- Are you willing to be a tool in the hand of the master?
- It is not our ability but our availability. Are you available?
It is important to keep the axe sharp, but it is more important to remember we are the axe.