“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10, NIV)
“He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul” (Psalms 23:2-3)
While waiting for KTM Komuter at KL Central station to Mid-Valley station yesterday, I remembered an old story about the wood-chopping challenge. Two neighbours lived near each other in the mountains. There were quite competitive and always testing each other’s strength.
One day, the first neighbour challenged the second to see who could chop the most wood in 3 hours. The second neighbour agreed to the challenge. The first man started out strong. As he chops away, the second man chopped for about a half hour and then sat down 10 minutes under the shade of the large tree. The first man could not believe his neighbour’s laziness. To his surprise, the second man continued to take these 10 minutes breaks each hour.
Finally, 3 hour passed. Not having paused to take a single break, the first neighbour was sure victory was his. To his dismay, he found that the second neighbour had chopped twice as much wood as he had!
In disbelief, he said, “That’s impossible! You took a break every hour”
With confident and a smile on his face, the second man replied, “I wasn’t resting, I was sharpening my axe.”
The lessons from this short story are massive. One particular lesson that I want to emphasis here is that: if we don’t take time to develop our relationship with God and fine-tune our mind, body and spirit through His eternal Word, we will always lose in the end. As I recalled this story and put it in writing, I reflected on what I have learned and experienced for the last 5 days. I was having a good rest away from the internet and computer – and enjoying my time with my colleagues as we discussed and planning for the student ministry next year and rediscover God in the Book of Isaiah. It was also a time for me to get away from my daily ministry routines and be alone in silent and solitude with my Lord Jesus.
As in sharpening the axe, we may not see the instant short-term gain from taking time away from the ordinary everyday life and take time to cultivate our relationship with God, but the long-term physical and spiritual benefits are huge. We know we should sharpen the axe (“Be still and know that I am God”), but who has the time, desire, determinations, or focus in this fast pace modern world? If you don’t sharpen your axe, it will become dull and useless. When we do, by the mercy and grace of God – our axes are sharp. God will “restore [our] soul”
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree
and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” (Abraham Lincoln)
God be with you. Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.