Sharpening the Ax

This morning, during my morning walk and prayer time, I remembered the language/imagery I’ve heard used for things like reading, personal growth, and even spiritual disciplines, “sharpening the ax.”

When chopping down a tree with an ax, a sharp ax is better than a dull one!

So, if you’re chopping down a tree with an ax and your ax gets dull, as it naturally will, it’s worth the time to stop chopping and start sharpening so that you will be able to finish the job. Sharpening your ax makes the rest of your work more effective!

In leadership, the idea is that learning, growing, and developing your knowledge and skills improves your ability to lead. This is a challenge for pastors, especially when they get bombarded with many different tasks (i.e., the tyranny of the urgent).

When bombarded on all sides, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of spending time to sharpen the ax. After all, the time spent sharpening could be used to get stuff done, right? But how effective can we be if we’re working with a dull ax?

In our case, we could add adjusting to parenthood and new ministries, as well as recovering from doctor of ministry programs, to the tyranny of the urgent to our list of challenges.

But we must keep our axes sharp. The work of leading God’s church is demanding, and it requires a sharp ax!

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