Posted in Lingering with the Word

Wisdom for When the Axe Needs Attention

“If the ax is dull
    and its edge unsharpened,
more strength is needed,
    but skill will bring success.” -Ecclesiastes 10:10

My husband and I have been having a lot of fun introducing our girls to some of our favorite movies from the past. We did this with our boys when they were teens, and now we get to watch again! This time around some of our old favorite movies are movies we watched as brand new with the boys. Some of their favorite movies came out before the girls were born. Our boys might be surprised to learn our girls think those movies are old.

Our most recent introduction was to a movie that came out before any of our kids was born, Karate Kid II. In this movie, the karate kid’s mentor teaches him that he doesn’t have to be the strongest to win a fight. He only has to be the smartest. Both the karate kid and his mentor apply this lesson throughout the movie.

I kind of think that’s what the teacher in Ecclesiastes is telling us in chapter 10, verse 10, applying the wisdom to work instead of fighting. The axe might be dull and need sharpening, but a skilled worker can get the job done anyway. (Though a smart worker will find a way to sharpen the axe and simplify his task.)

But since I don’t plan to cut down any trees in the near future, I took a little time to consider how the teacher’s wisdom applies to me.

  1. If I am feeling too weak or unskilled for a task I need to accomplish, I need more strength. This may mean I need to practice or study or get some rest. This is how I, in my own power, can sharpen my axe, so to speak.
  2. Since my own power isn’t always enough, and even if I think it might be, I need to ask God for an edge, a power boost! He can and wants to provide the strength and skill and any other resource I might need. In fact, though I believe God wants us to do what we can do in order to develop our own strength and skill while trusting Him for help, I also think that I think the skill that brings success is learning how to access the resources God is offering to us every day. He promises to give us everything we need. When our axes are dull, we’re smart to go to Him.

Father, we know You have all the strength and wisdom and other resources we need to succeed at any task You give. Please provide. When You want us to work to develop our skills or build our strength, show us how to do this most effectively and where to go for help. When our axes are too dull, add Your strength. We need You, Lord . . . every day. Thank You for working alongside us as we work to serve You. In Jesus’ name, amen.