Sharpen Your Axe!

Wisdom, rightly understood, is the acknowledgement of God’s existence and the willingness to cede to his authority.

The wise person is not the one who has accumulated lots of facts and can destroy everyone else at Jeopardy, but the one who has submitted himself to the will of God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” No wonder then that elsewhere Solomon says: “The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight” (Proverbs 4:7).

 

Last weekend we did a little rearranging of our basement which is also the home office where Aileen and I work every day. This rearranging involved moving some stuff out and moving some other stuff in. We had a rather large and heavy piece of equipment we needed to remove, so we placed an ad online and told whoever wanted it would need to bring both the people and the tools necessary to get it out. The people who claimed it showed up with the people and with some tools, but not the tools. I watched for quite some time as they tried to take it apart with tools that were not quite right for the job. Eventually they managed, but it took a lot more time, and required a lot more effort than it should have.

I thought of their bumbling and their fumbling this morning when my devotions took me to Ecclesiastes 10:10: “If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.“ The people who came to my home may not have needed a sharp edge, like the axe in this Proverb, but what they did need was the right tool. Their failure to bring it cost them time and bother. Frankly, it left them looking rather foolish.

Wisdom is a tool that is useful in all of life. In fact, according to Solomon, it is the one tool that is most crucial for living a life that is pleasing to God. Wisdom, rightly understood, is the acknowledgement of God’s existence and the willingness to cede to his authority. The wise person is not the one who has accumulated lots of facts and can destroy everyone else at Jeopardy, but the one who has submitted himself to the will of God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” No wonder then that elsewhere Solomon says: “The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight” (Proverbs 4:7).

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