Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And all that is within me,   
bless His holy name.   
Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And forget none of His benefits.   
- Psalms 103:1-2   
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Sharpen The Ax (Ecc. 10:10)

Sharpen The Ax. Ecclesiastes 10:10 “If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength. But wisdom brings success”. The word “sharpen” implies a principle in life, things become dull. When used enough, that which was “once sharp” loses it’s sharpness. It becomes worn. This is true of an ax or a saw. This is true of our bodies, our muscles and mind. Solomon spoke of sharp and dull in Eccl. 10:10. It is foolish to continue to chop wood with a dull ax. It will require more effort, each swing requiring more and more energy. This means the worker will work harder with each and every blow. His strength and energy will be spent quicker. His work will take longer, meaning he may not produce as much wood as before. And when we are tired and fatigued, yet we keep on working and that is when mistakes happen. We get sloppy and overlook the obvious. People get hurt, and the work suffers. The above statements apply to us today. We’re running on empty. With the many demands of work, home, church, we find ourselves stretched out. We find ourselves in a burnout, unmotivated, neglectful, sloppy, short and rude in our attitude. When we continue in our roles and in our duties and when we are dull, everyone suffers. The work suffers, relationship suffers, and we suffer. In order to take care of others, you must take care of yourself. You need to take time to “sharpen your ax”. We see this in the “virtuous woman” in Proverbs 31. She was “working for her family” (vs. 12, 27). But to take care of “her family”, she must first take care of herself. She made “herself strong”.( vs. 17,25). She made “herself cloths”.(vs. 22). She “feared the Lord” and made her “own relationship with God”. (vs. 30). We also see this in Jesus. One of the common things we see in Jesus is that he often “got away by himself”. Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:13,23. Jesus took time for himself and talked to his Father. Jesus traveled often to Bethany. John 12:1. Before his ascension, Jesus traveled to Bethany, Luke 24:50, perhaps to comfort and be comforted, because he had many friends there. How about you? Has your ax become dull? Don’t just keep plowing ahead. It is not selfish or inconsiderate to spend time building yourself up. To do you work correct and those under your care you must take care of yourself. I do not need to keep swinging with a dull ax. We need to sharpen our ax, take care of ourselves and get the rest and encouragement we need in order to take care of others. This may mean, taking some time to rest, stopping all the work, get away, turn off the phone and letting our mind and body relax. Getting away from everything, a vacation, spending time with those you care for. Rest and renew yourself. Encouragement you received from them. Proverbs 27:17, “as iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of a friend”. Make sure you take time to sharpen your ax. - CL Bruner