Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sharpening Your Axe

Eccl 10:9 Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby. Ecc 10:10 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
It is said that a woodsman never wastes time in sharpening his axe. While living in Colorado on the edge of a small canyon, we burned wood to heat the home. Late summer and early fall meant a few trips to the mountains to cut firewood for the winter's supply for the house and a couple of the neighbor's homes. Those trips meant picnic lunches, slugs of water from the Igloo cooler and inspirational sightings of deer, elk and grouse. The serenity of the woods, the smell of the forest, the clarity of the impossibly blue skies offered a buffet for the senses. Cutting and stacking the wood was hard but satisfying work. But the breaks were the best part, sitting down and enjoying God's creation, deeply breathing in that rare air. But then, the saws had to be gassed, oiled and, most importantly, sharpened. Believe me, cutting wood with a dull chain saw is slow, frustrating and unproductive, which in turn meant fewer and less enjoyable breaks. Life is meant to include both work and enjoyment. That's the theme of Ecclesiastes. But there is little chance for enjoyment if work is unproductive. I am thankful that what I do for a living is something I would do for nothing if I could. I really enjoy my work. But when I get unproductive in my work, when what I do isn't very sharp, my down time is just not very enjoyable. Really, that's the way it should be. Is your iron blunt? Does your edge need to be sharpened? Are you putting too much strength into too little gain? Perhaps you could use a little more education to improve your skill set. Maybe you could transfer to a department that better matches your likings and talents. Life is too short to hate what you do! Consider whether you need to sharpen your axe a bit.

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