This blog post was written by my sister, Naomi. Thanks, Naomi!
If the Ax is Dull
“If the ax is dull,
And one does not sharpen the edge,
Then he must use more strength;
But wisdom brings success.” Ecclesiastes 10:10
I once heard a story that goes along with this verse.
A young man wanted to show his lumberjacking skill, so he challenged an older lumberjack to a competition: they would both work all day and see who had more trees cut.
The older man always took a fifteen minute break every hour, so the youngster decided that he would skip the breaks and that way have all that extra time to work.
At the end of the day, the young man, hot and sweaty, came over and asked eagerly, “How many logs do you have?”
When the older man told him the amount, the youngster was furious!
“How could you have so many when you always take so many breaks?” he raged.
“Well,” the lumberjack replied, ”I always sharpen my ax during those breaks.”
If you have ever read Ecclesiastes –which I hope you have- you may have found it to be ‘depressing’, ‘odd’, or maybe it was a voicing of how you were feeling at the time. The latter is how I felt when I was reading it the last few mornings.
The most common phrase is “All is vanity”. I’d been feeling that way too. All we do is live, have fun, sorrow, make things, work, gather belongings, and die. End of story. Sort of.
The thing is, that’s not the end. The end is either heaven or hell, very real places, and the option depends on your relationship with God.
Now this is where some may stop reading the ‘religious’ stuff, but trust me, I’m not done with the good stuff.
In Ecclesiastes nine, it says,
“For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God…One event happens to the righteous and the wicked; To the good, the clean, and the unclean;…Go, eat your bread with joy,
And drink your wine with a merry heart;…Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
What a statement!
So after reading all about the vanity of life, it tells us what to do with it. Go, eat your bread with joy, live joyfully with your wife, and work with all your might! There is your life spelled out for you!
Now the author of Ecclesiastes lived long before Jesus came, so he didn’t know about the rest of your purpose. Believers in the one true God have another, life-defining purpose in life, which is to win souls for Christ.
What are you doing to win souls? In your workplace, are you building relationships so you can share the gospel? Are you telling your neighbor about the greatest Person in your life? Are you showing your family the love of Jesus?
Even if you can do nothing else, find a way to show Jesus’ heart of forgiveness to someone. Today.
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgement,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14