Sunday, April 13, 2014


When I was a child of about kindergarten age (a reach back of more than eighty years), I remember my father's sharpening wheel in his garage workshop. It was made of some kind of rough, abrasive stone. He didn't have an electric motor until many years later. 

If I promised to be careful, Dad allowed me to turn the handle of the wheel while he held a sickle blade, a file, or an ax against the wheel to sharpen it. It was fun to see the sparks fly as the wheel whirred and the tool emerged with a new cutting edge. Dad squirted lubricating oil on the blade during the sharpening process.bout kin
my father's sharpening wheel i
f more than e(a reach back of more than eighty

My Czech grandmother who lived with us brought a lead-gray sharpening stone with her from Europe and she took charge of keeping all our kitchen knives sharp. She also applied oil to the stone to get a fine edge on the blades as she rubbed them skillfully against the stone. She put more oil on afterward to prevent rusting, as did my Dad on the sharpened sickle.

For many reasons, we as Christians may grow dull in our lives and witness as the years go by. We may become slack and lazy in nourishing our spiritual lives. On the other hand, we may be too active or busy without taking time to renew our own cutting edge. If we continually give of ourselves to others in teaching, preaching, or other service, we become depleted. Without continual attention to our spiritual keenness, we soon become instruments that God can no longer profitably use. 

We must take in fresh resources to build ourselves up. Spending time alone with God in prayer and His Word is not a luxury or an option. It is essential. Routine, casual reading of the Word of God will not in itself restore our blunt edge. We need the lubricating Oil of the Holy Spirit to quicken us. It is His holy anointing that keeps the sparks in our witness, in our service, and in all the relationships of our daily lives. That applies to the homemaker, the student, the wage earner, and retirees as well. 

The Oil of the Spirit protects us from damaging rust. Grandma used to say that no knife was so dull that it was beyond restoration. She could still obtain an edge like a razor. Her old favorite meat cutting knife had a blade so thin that the straight edge was worn to a curve with much use and many sharpenings over the years. 

The Holy Spirit is the Great Restorer of cutting edges in anyone's spiritual life. Jesus promised to “make all things new.” No one is beyond restoration. We can't live on past experiences or yesterday's sparks. Our lack will soon be exposed.


I'm inclined to ride on the past:
on previous experiences with God
bygone touches of His grace
starving on stale manna
snacking on scraps of blessing
leftovers from days on higher ground.

I hang on to the coattails
of what has been:
the way of least resistance.
Who will know?
I hide behind my reputation
gained in a former day
and camouflage my deficiency.

But the facade crumbles:
my aridity is exposed
my weakness shows and soon
there are those who observe
how sluggishly I walk in the Spirit
that I face forward but
slide backward losing ground.

The upward way, the onward way
is to keep advancing
and not hiding in shadows of the past
but keeping pace with God.

Lord, touch me with Your fire
inspire me to press on from glory to glory.
Renew me again and again.
Don't let me get stuck in the hitherto
bogged down in the already
in that muddy rut of yesterday.

No comments: