Sharpening the Axe-A A +A
The Good News
Thursday, July 19, 2012
IN THIS fast-paced and rat race life, it is easy to see how busy we all have become. Students, even pre-schoolers, wake up very early in the morning to catch up with their service ride to school. Employees spend most of their waking hours at work, while housewives attend to household chores round the clock. Many are tired; most are stressed if not burnt out, and not a few are starved with sleep. There simply seems to be too much work to do in so little time.
Jesus, in Chapter 6 of Mark’s gospel, instructs his apostles, “Come away to a deserted place all by your selves and rest a while.” He said this because he saw how busy his friends were with the ministry of preaching, healing, casting out demons, caring and loving. With so many people coming and going, they have been so preoccupied with a thousand and one things; they simply had no time even to eat.
Today, Jesus might be telling us the same thing. Yes, we toil and we labor in response to the endless demands of modern life -- that duty, that deadline, that opportunity for promotion, that threat from competition. We cannot care less. Yet, the reminder is for us not to tilt the balance of life in the fashion that God intended it to be. The reminder is for us not to forget the value of rest -- physically, psychologically and spiritually.
As early as the creation story, God gave us this example. For six days he created the world and everything in it, including man himself. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work” (Genesis 2:2).
Man needs rest so as to be rejuvenated. While many think that the more hours one puts to work, the more output he produces, this may not always be the case. The story of two woodsmen illustrates this point.
The fist woodsman is the busy bee type -- chopping wood from dawn to midnight, never pausing, never taking a break. The second woodsman, on the other hand, worked at a much regulated pace -- periodically stopping and then starting again. At the end of the day, the two met to see how much wood each one has chopped. And guess what? To the dismay of the first woodsman, he saw the second woodsman as having chopped more wood than he did. Thus, he marveled. “Friend,” he asked him, “how did that happen?” “We both chopped wood -- I, almost endlessly, while you, working now and then resting later. Why then were you able to chop more wood than I did?” The second woodsman answered, “Oh, my dear… yes, indeed, you saw me chopping and you saw me resting. What you did not see, though, is that while I was resting, I’ve been sharpening my axe.”
Truly, rest is the time to ‘sharpen our axes.’ It is the time to renew our energies so we can produce more with less in the next engagement. Rest is the time to remind ourselves that work is just a means to reach an end; it is never the end by itself. In resting are we given time to focus on the source of our strength -- God, the author of work and rest… and of that bigger thing called life that encompasses both.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 19, 2012.