Sharpened Tools

“If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.” – Ecclesiastes 10:10

It was a beautiful fall day, and my father and I were working on the construction of some farm buildings in southern Oregon. We usually had our saws sharpened in town, but this day a man came by and gave us an offer that we could not pass up. After he left, all of our saws were freshly sharpened and we were encouraged that someone would be so accommodating as to come to the jobsite and sharpen our tools.

However, it did not take us long to realize that what we had thought was a good deal was actually a bad one. All of the saws were sharpened, but without any set in the teeth. As we tried to draw the saws through boards, they would bind up, making the use of the saws an effort in futility. It took all of our strength just to saw one board. The next day, we took our saws to town and had them sharpened again, and you can be sure there was a set in the saw teeth!

Our focus verse speaks of the importance of having tools with the right edges for particular tasks. If a tool is not properly sharpened, the workman has to use great strength to accomplish an easy job. With a little wisdom, however, he will simply sharpen the tool correctly and save himself much labor.

Just as a saw must have the proper edge to work efficiently, so our conversations must also be “sharpened” for God’s use. When we speak to others about the Gospel, it is better to say five words that are meaningful and convicting than ten thousand words which are empty and not understood. A great deal of effort would go into those ten thousand words, yet the result has almost no effect. Conversely, a Spirit-led conversation will administer grace to the hearer, no matter how few words are spoken. And those listening will only have to remember a few words!

We do not want to leave people with the impression of just wordy explanations for our faith. Rather, we want our lives and conversations to be governed by wisdom and understanding, and our words to be Spirit-anointed, so that the words we speak can be effective for the Lord’s work.

Father, Thank You for the prayer of the Psalmist that can be a model for us all: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight” (Psalm 19:14). Amen.

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