Spiritual Director · July 12, 2017

Devote #59

Though our family didn’t live on a farm, I worked on a farm as a kid growing up. It was the only job available in the little town I grew up in. I loved working on the farm. You were up really early in the morning and you worked till late at night, but it was good.

Then after I graduated from high school, heading to college, I took on a new job – groundskeeper. I liked that even better. I got to work with machinery (though much smaller)… got to be outside (most of the time, when it wasn’t raining)… and learned a ton about grass, plants, bushes and trees.

For the first four years I had a tough boss – it was my dad. He had high expectations and I tried my best to live up to them. The man under him who oversaw me, the head groundskeeper, was Bernie. Bernie was so knowledgeable about the grass, the plants, the bushes and the trees. I really liked working with Bernie. He was kindhearted and willing to teach and explain things to me. Here’s one of his teachings that I have never forgotten and have through the years taught to others…
“If you don’t use your head… you’ve got to use your feet.”

Read it again and let it soak in for a moment. That was Bernie’s way of telling me to think ahead. We planned out our day taking all the tools we needed so that we weren’t constantly running back to the shop getting something we had forgotten, wasting time. Bernie was a total planner. He thought through everything before he set out for the job at hand.

That’s what I thought of today as I read this verse…

“If you don’t sharpen your ax, it will be harder to use…”

Ecclesiastes 10:10 CEV

No, Bernie didn’t say that, King Solomon did. King Solomon was trying to tell us, if we don’t think through what we’re going to do and sharpen the edge, considering carefully how we’re going to go about something, we’ll only expend a lot of effort and find ourselves worn out doing it. But wise people, understanding the need for sharpness and clarity in their life, and they’ll make sure the edge of that blade has been sharpened so they can succeed.

How do you sharpen the edge of that blade? By being in the Word and letting God speak to you. If you’re willing to obey what He tells us, it’ll take the dullness right out of your life.

Another way to be sharpened is by the people around you in your life. Hopefully you have some God-fearing friends who you allow to speak into your life when you get dulled by this world.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Ask yourself, how many times you set out to do something on your own strength, but didn’t really think it through, wasting a lot of time, and not succeeding? Sharpen your ax, because… if you don’t use your head, you’ll have to use your feet.

Direct my steps today. Thank you for Your Word and putting people in my life who can sharpen me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.