While reading Ecclesiastes, I encountered this fascinating passage.
“…he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby. If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.” (Eccles. 10:9-10)
When a man cuts wood with a blunt axe, he must work harder than usual. With one simple change, he can transform the axe…by simply sharpening its edge.
If you have to chop down a tree in ten minutes, you should spend the first five sharpening your axe. In life, we too can accomplish much more when we sharpen our tools. How can we do this? In verse 10, Solomon declares, “…wisdom is profitable to direct.” Wisdom is the secret to sharpening our tools and working smarter, not harder.
Let’s look at 3 must-dos to sharpen our tools with wisdom.
1. Never stop learning. Study practical knowledge by reading books. Learn new skills by watching Youtube tutorials and asking advice from skilled people. “The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.” (Proverbs 18:15) Skills open the door to greater opportunities of service and ministry to people who need Jesus. Focus on sharpening natural talents that God has given you. If you keep learning, you will be a much sharper tool in God’s hands.
2. Choose wise friends. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”(Proverbs 27:17) If you follow God, you cannot be a close friend of fools. They will discourage and hinder you. But wise friends encourage you to pursue wisdom, invest your time profitably, and give you much-needed reality checks. “You’re going to do WHAT?!” Be open to wise friends’ advice. They can sharpen you effectively.
3. Seek wisdom in the Word. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword…and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) Reading the Bible will convict you of sin, direct your steps, and encourage you. It is the best grindstone you could ever use for daily sharpening.
What is the secret to keeping our tools sharp? It is wisdom. Since we know so little of God’s wisdom, we constantly need sharpening. Daily, we must sharpen our tools at the grindstone of the Word. Wise friends and continued learning will also sharpen us. We don’t have to struggle through the jungle, hacking away with dull axes. Keep your axe sharp, and you can blaze a fresh trail through the forest of life.