Abraham Lincoln once said that if he were given 6 hours to chop down a tree that he would spend the first four sharpening the axe.
There are great truths there:
1. Preparation is more important than determination.
2. The time to prepare is before the time to perform.
3. The significance of the task only heightens the significance of the tool.
I also believe that there is a valid point that touches in a tangential way to the sharpening of the axe.
People are great axe sharpeners! We love to find out 10 ways to be a better worker, to be in better shape, to be a better parent/spouse/child, etc. In short how to increase our potential. Now take the axe. The sharper the axe, the greater the work potential. The more easily the tree will be chopped down and the more joy the user will have in wielding it, but ultimately, all that is increased is its potential for work, for good…or for evil. That sharpened axe that will split a cord of wood can also split a person’s skull.
The real question is who is wielding the axe? Whose hands is it in?
We can be bigger, faster, stronger, smarter…better at any number of things, but what really determines whether or not a man is a better man is whose hands he is in. Have we yielded so that Jesus can wield us?
More important than the potential of the tool is the goodness of the One wielding it.