sharpen the axe

Ecclesiastes 10:10 If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success. (NIV)

Dullness is a bane of every leader who wishes to remain effective. Hard work, stress and long hours can cause an otherwise sharp leader to become blunt and ineffective. The responsibilities that we carry are sometimes mind-numbing and if we are not careful, we can slowly get lulled to sleep. Nothing good comes from a leader who is asleep at the wheel.

We have to be good at the things which keep us sharp. This is different for each individual. The obvious considerations are rest, prayer and a personal development plan. Possibly the things that sharpen us the most are not so apparent.

An ax is sharpened on a grinding wheel. Note that when the metal of the ax is placed on the wheel, sparks fly. This is heavy-duty friction at work. The wheel is abrasive and harsh. There isn’t much mercy being shown here. If the ax has feelings, they are definitely being hurt. The lesson is, sometimes the most abrasive experiences result in the sharpest edge.

Take note of your interactions today. if someone was less than kind to you, if you heard that others are saying negative things, if some abrasive person is grinding away on your feelings – be encouraged. You are being sharpened.

Now, be aware that you can’t stay on the wheel. Days and weeks of being ground down will reduce you to metal shavings. What you need is variety. Some time on the wheel, some time at work, some time at play.

You have a big job ahead of you. There are some trees to be chopped down. There are some stumps to be removed. A sharp ax will make it all much easier. (my apologies to the tree-huggers for the analogy)

Take time to sharpen yourself. Life and leadership will be easier if you do.

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