Week 21: Friday – Sharpen Your Axe

BlackRobertsQuote

Devotional Theme: SHARPEN YOUR AXE

Bible verse:

Isaiah 40:31 (MSG)
31 But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.

Quote:

Without positive rituals we cannot hope to succeed. Rituals signal importance in our lives. Where there is ritual there is value and meaning. Rituals are disciplined patterns of thinking and acting that enhance our ability to respond to the forces of life in the most appropriate and meaningful way.

–          Black, E., and Roberts, J., Rituals of our times. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993.

Internet devotion

SINKHOLES

Do you know what a sinkhole is? The residents of a Florida apartment building awoke to a terrifying sight outside their windows. The ground beneath the street in front of their building had literally collapsed, creating a massive depression that Floridians call a sinkhole. Tumbling over the deepening pit were automobiles, pavement, sidewalks, and lawn furniture. The building itself will obviously be the next to go.

Sinkholes occur, scientists say, when underground streams drain away during the seasons of drought, causing the ground at the surface to lose its underlying support. Suddenly everything simply caves in, leaving people with frightening suspicion that nothing—not even the earth beneath their feet—is trustworthy.

There are many people whose lives are like one of Florida’s sinkholes. It is likely that one time or another many have perceived us to be on the verge of a sinkhole-like cave-in. In the feelings of a numbing fatigue, a taste of apparent failure, or the bitter experience of disillusionment about goals or purposes, we may have sensed something within us about to give way. We feel that we are just a moment of collapse that will threaten to sweep our entire world into a bottomless pit.

BETTER THAN A POUND OF CURE

There is a famous line that say, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”

Fatigue makes cowards of us all.

–          Vince Lombardi, football coach

TWO THINGS TO REMEMBER

There are two things that we need to take care of so that a sinkhole-like cave-in could be avoided. According to Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz they would be…

  1. Taking care of your guts [It refers to that part of you that cannot be seen and yet it is the source our being, decisions, affections, inclinations, and a host of other things].
  2. Having rituals [No, this is not some form of a dance that is performed before an event or endeavor but they are the things that we do over and over again].

These men say it best when defining what rituals are:

Without positive rituals we cannot hope to succeed. Rituals signal importance in our lives. Where there is ritual there is value and meaning. Rituals are disciplined patterns of thinking and acting that enhance our ability to respond to the forces of life in the most appropriate and meaningful way.

–          Black, E., and Roberts, J., Rituals of our times. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993.

Now here is what they say when it comes to guts:

It is not that what happens to you that determines your character and future. It is how you respond what happens to you. The storms and challenges of life simply represent forces. How you allow your body to respond to those forces determines your future, your character and the fabric of your life.

When neglect sets in, the streams underneath our “skin” dry up. This might cause sinkhole-like cave-in.

SHARPEN YOUR AXE

A young man approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job, “That depends,” replied the foreman. “Let’s see if you fell this tree.” The young man stepped forward, and skillfully felled a great tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, “You can start Monday.”

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by and Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, “You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today.” Startled, the young man replied, “I thought you paid on Friday.”

“Normally we do,” said the foreman. “But we’re letting you go today because you’ve fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you’ve dropped from the first place on Monday to the last place today.”

“But I’m a hard worker,” the young man objected. “I arrived first, leave last, and even worked through my coffee breaks!” The foreman, sensing the young man’s integrity, thought for a minute and then asked, “Have you been sharpening your ax?” The young man replied, “No sir. I have been working too hard to take time for that!”

TOOLS TO SHARPEN THE AXE

Here are some tools that we could use so we could sharpen our axe. They are in the form of questions designed to make inquiry that would prompt response.

  1. What is it that motivates us?
  2. What occupies our time?
  3. Are we growing in our thinking?
  4. Do we have harmony with God?
  5. Are we getting enough rest?

[Questions are adaptations from book Ordering your Private world by Gordon MacDonald]

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