A dull axe does not mean you are lazy

Published 10:43 pm Monday, September 24, 2012

A young man was hired to work with a logging company. He was very strong and quite efficient. He and his axe worked as one; they were inseparable. To see one was to see the other. Using his axe, the young man could cut more trees than any other worker. One day he met a much older logger.

The old man would cut a few trees then stop to sharpen or adjust his axe. This occurred several times a day but the young man couldn’t make much sense of the old man’s time consuming routine. He simply decided to keep cutting which meant that he surpassed the old man on a daily basis. After several days, the young man’s production was quite low and as a result he lost his job. He could not understand how the old man could stop and rest, adjust his axe, and still beat him in production. As he gathered his belongings to leave the job site, he approached the old man and said, “I just don’t understand. I out worked you; when you rested, I continued cutting, yet you out produced me. How can this be?” The old man said, “I learned a lesson many years ago from the Bible. Ecclesiastes 10:10 states, “A dull ax requires more strengthen, be wise and sharpen your blade.” The old man said, “I was not resting. I stopped to sharpen the edge of my axe and adjust my handle.” He went on to explain that because the young man never stopped to sharpen his edge he labored more and accomplished less.

In life, we can’t throw away the axe just because the head has become dull. There are trees that need to be cut down and structures that need to be built. However, there are some things that we should consider. If we are going to recover and regain our cutting edge in life, we must first accept the fact that sometimes losing our cutting edge is a part of life. In fact, take a good look around; we are surrounded by people who, at some point, have lost their cutting edge. From time to time, we may have dull moments but we can’t allow those moments to dictate our future cutting potential. We can’t dwell on past failures. When we lose our cutting edge, we must get up and begin sharpening our axe head again. Secondly, we must recognize when we are dull. If we’re going to regain our edge, we can’t live in denial but neither do we want to settle on being dull. Instead, aim to stay sharpened.

Email newsletter signup

Laziness isn’t always to blame when a cutting edge is lost. In fact, the young man was not lazy. He was still working, but his work became less effective because he took no time to preserve his axe. Often times our axe-head’s blade becomes dull just from the work itself. To lose effectiveness momentarily doesn’t mean that we can no longer be effective.

Sometimes we assume that being busy means that we’re accomplishing a lot. However, in reality we can save time and accomplish a whole lot more by taking the necessary time to sharpen our tools. So during national recovery month, let’s remember that although we may have lost our cutting edge, we must take time for maintenance. Stop and take a break to readjust, regroup and sharpen yourself.