Sermon: Sharpen the axe!Theme: Godly-skilled people – know how Date: 13 April 2014 – morning servicePreacher:Pastor Francois van Niekerk Text: Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NIV)‘If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.’ IntroductionOur world is in need of urgency and efficiency. Noah built the ark with a sense of urgency and commitment – it was meant to save lives and preserve life!How devoted would you have been to build with urgency, excellence and commitment if you had his job? Your name may not be Noah, but what you are called to build with your life, is also meant to save lives.Are you willing to dedicate your life to build with excellence so that God may use your life to construct a place of salvation for people?I want to address the issue of efficiency for God and the urgency to find out how we can sharpen our lives in serving Him.
Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right thing.How effective are we for God in measurable ways?How can we see increased effectiveness for God?To be effective and efficient for God, we need sharpening!
Main pointsAxes become dullAn axe mostly becomes dull when it is used often.
It can also become dull if it is used in the wrong way or for the wrong purpose.When you find that your axe – your efficiency for God – is not as it should be, don’t ditch it, sharpen it!We should not beat ourselves up when our axes become dull. It is part of the cycle of an axe, and part of life.
2. Don’t swing harder!When you know more or less how many blows are required to topple a tree of certain thickness, and it takes double that time, you know your axe is blunt.Most people tend to swing harder when they don’t see breakthrough or the required productivity.
The secret in pursuing greater effectiveness for God is not working harder but working smarter!The duller the axe the greater the power required to see any effect.Discernment will tell you something is wrong if that tree is still standing after 600 hard blows.When we become aware that our axes are dull, the first thing to do is to stop.We must stop and inspect the edge. The edge of an axe can only be inspected once activity has ended. Trying to inspect the edge of an axe while in use will result in serious injury. We must stop and allow God to inspect the axe.Sharpening is a process that starts with stopping, looking and then proceeding to the phase where we plan and put systems in place. Implementing, making adjustments and persistence must then follow.
3. How to sharpen the axeBecome a student for life – be teachable and quick to learn!Courageously implement what you’ve learnt and try new things.Relate and associate with the right company – you become like those with whom you spend the most time. Their character will rub off on you; it is the law of association. Surround yourself with wise friends, teachers and coachespeople who help sharpen your life and make you more effective for God, andpositive and wise builders.
‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.’Proverbs 27:17 (NIV) Avoid people who only tell you what you want to hear or those who avoid conflict when there is something to be said that can improve your efficiency for God. Obey – apply and implement what God says and put into practice what your wise friends and teachers say. Applying God’s Word and wise advice sharpens the axe. Even if an axe lies right next to the grinding stone for hours, it does not mean it will get sharpened. The iron and the stone must connect. This causes friction that gives the axe its edge back. Some people avoid this because of the possibility of conflict. Things can become a bit heated and the sparks can fly.
The iron and the stone must connect. This causes friction that gives the axe its edge back. Some people avoid this because of the possibility of conflict. Things can become a bit heated and the sparks can fly. It is the same when sharpening for efficiency. Don’t avoid sharpening because you are afraid of conflict or criticism. Keep going – this calls for perseverance and persistence. Practise makes perfect and endurance pays off. Don’t give up on doing what God says!
4. Practical wisdomGod has a wonderful invitation for each person who desires to be more effective and efficient. James 1:5 states that God invites all who need wisdom to ask it from Him and He also promises to give it freely.
The wisdom we need to be effective and efficient for God is practical. Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, ‘… skill will bring success.’ In some translations the word skill is replaced with wisdom.This brings me to the conclusion that God’s wisdom is practical wisdom that expresses itself in skill – doing things well and doing them right. This brings success! ApplicationGod’s wonderful invitation to ask for wisdom (James 1:5) comes in the context of the tests and complexities of real life for which we need faith, perseverance and His practical wisdom.
Sharpen your axe and keep swinging for success!May God use your life – sharpened by His wisdom – to be efficient and effective for Him.Effective and efficient people make a difference.
Sharpen the saw | Francois van Niekerk | 13 April 2014
SHARPEN THE AXE
Efficiency is doing things right.
Effectiveness is doing the right
‘If the ax is dull, and its edge
unsharpened, more strength is
needed, but skill will bring
Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NIV)