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Don't forget to sharpen your saw



“If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.”

Ecclesiastes 10:10



Stronger or Wiser?

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 the 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, but you had to stop often to take a break.” The older lumberjack said. “That’s where you are wrong. You thought I was taking a break, but actually, I was sharpening my saw.”

Valuable Lessons

This familiar story provides 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.”

We MUST NOT neglect our relationship with Christ – which is our first thing. 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 our life.

But there is another, often overlooked, lesson from this story:

2. We must sharpen the saws of other men.

It could be argued the real winner that day was the young lumberjack. He was the beneficiary of a life-changing lesson.

Who is the beneficiary of your experience, wisdom and knowledge? As men 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 men? 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.


John Meriweather

MD5 Facilitator

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