Have you become so engrossed in doing God’s work that you forgot your focus? We can easily become so busy with activity that we lose our effectiveness. We can become so focused on the quantity of work that we forget about quality.
2 Kings 6. This passage describes a man who was busy for God, yet lost his effectiveness. He had lost his cutting edge while he was busy working.
When the prophets decided to build a larger meeting place, they began chopping wood near the Jordan River. “As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water. ‘Oh, my lord,’ he cried out, ‘it was borrowed!’” (2 Kings 6:5).
The ax head represents the cutting edge of life—a life that is being equipped with an anointing by God’s Holy Spirit. The loss and later recovery of the ax head shows us a picture of God’s grace, mercy and willingness to restore our usefulness for His kingdom.
Like the borrowed ax, everything we have is borrowed from God. Nothing we claim actually belongs to us—. It all belongs to God—even our very life and breath. But when we think of ourselves as owners, instead of stewards, we can easily fall into the temptation of hoarding our blessings. Yet Jesus warns, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
So when we become complacent about our borrowed resources or caught up in our activities, we begin to lose our effectiveness in God’s work. The evidence of God’s blessing upon our lives is not how busy we are with activities and committees, but with our effectiveness for Him. The evidence of God’s blessing upon our lives is His anointing and the changed lives around us.
Like the busy worker in this passage, if we fail to remain on guard we will miss the warning signs of impending trouble. For the worker, he was so consumed with chopping that he did not notice the loosening of the ax blade from the handle until it was too late. For us, we can become so preoccupied with activity that we fail to see our slackening relationship with God until we fall into temptation. Jesus told His disciples, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
How do we recover our effectiveness? First, we must figure out where we have fallen. Elisha asked the worker regarding the ax head, “Where did it fall?” (2 Kings 6:6). In order to retrieve that sharp edge, he first had to learn where it was lost. Likewise, our place of departure is the place of our recovery. We will only find power where we have lost it. It is futile to think we can overlook the past without confessing it to God.
Second, we must reach out for Jesus. Elisha used a branch to save the ax head miraculously. “When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it into the water. Then the ax head rose to the surface and floated. ‘Grab it,’ Elisha said to him. And the man reached out and grabbed it” (2 Kings 6:6,7). Jesus, the Branch of David, will restore us when we are drowning. He is the only One who can liberate us from the currents of the world’s temptation. He is the only One who can cleanse us of the soot and mud when we have hit the bottom of the river.
Have you lost your keen edge in your Christian walk? Have you been spinning your wheels? Do you feel that you have moved away from your effectiveness for God? Commit to Him today to return to the places where you have fallen so that God may restore and renew your effectiveness in your service to Him.
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