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 annual Lumberjack competition culminated in a showdown between two contestants – the younger and stronger lumberjack vs. the older and wiser one. The battle was simple: cut down as many trees as you can in eight hours. With much confidence the young lumberjack began sawing away. Throughout the day he noticed that the older lumberjack stopped sawing. At end of the day, victory was all but certain. However, when the final count was tallied the older lumberjack won!
Shocked, the young lumberjack asked, “How is that possible? I’m stronger and have more stamina! I also heard you stop and take several breaks!.” The older lumberjack said, “That’s where you are wrong. You thought I was taking a break, but I was actually sharpening my saw.”
This familiar story provides some valuable lessons about the impact of margin and investing in more important things:
1) We need to sharpen our saw.
The goal of margin is not idle time. The older lumberjack was not idling. He knew that “first things first makes second things better”. He was intentional with how he used his time – to invest in “first things”.
2) We MUST NOT neglect our relationship with Christ.
When this is neglected, it has an adverse effect on every other area of your life. When it is prioritized it enhances every other area of your life. From the moment you accepted the free gift of salvation, your life was all about surrender and sacrifice to the God who simply expects you to give him glory for all your days.
But there is another, often overlooked, lesson from this story . . .
3) We must sharpen the saws of others.
It could be argued the real winner that day was the young lumberjack, because he was the beneficiary of a life-changing lesson. It’s called discipleship and God commanded all his children to invest in the lives of others ’til He returns.
Who is the beneficiary of your experience, wisdom, and knowledge? As people have invested in you, it is time for you to invest in other men.
Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
A sharp saw is only useful if it is used. Are you investing in other people? You need to sharpen your saw, yes. But in turn you need to help others sharpen theirs. It’s time to take your turn in sharpening the saws of others.