Do you ever feel like you are sawing away at life, but not getting anywhere? The other day, we had a birthday party for my daughter Grace. She wanted to have here friends over and wanted to have a camp fire to sit around. I meant to by a bundle of firewood at the store, but forgot. We only had about 15 minutes before dark, so I dragged a fallen tree from the woods behind my house. I grabbed my chainsaw (which hasn't been used in about a year) and tried to cut the tree up into firewood. The chain was so dull it would hardly cut. I should have paused to sharpen the chain and it would have made quick work of the tree. However, it was almost dark and I didn't want to be cutting wood in the dark so I just kept trying to cut that tree up with my dull saw. It was loud and the chain was smoking as the dull blades grinding against the wood--more burning it than cutting it. It took three times as long to cut the tree with the dull saw (and it was more dangerous too).
It’s important to take time to sharpen your saw. That's true of chainsaws and yourself. We need to make sure we sharpen our mental, physical, and spiritual abilities. Otherwise, we will just be loud but not very effective. Lent is a great time to resharpen. Lent is the 40-day period between Ash Wednesday at Easter Sunday when Christians prepare for Easter through prayer, study, and service. Our focus on prayer, study, and service helps draw us closer to Christ so we can be sharp again.
Jesus was a carpenter. I’m sure he understood the importance of “sharpening his saw” so it would cut well. Jesus certainly applied the principle to his ministry. He took trips and celebrated religious holidays (Holy Communion was originally a Passover meal Jesus celebrated with his disciples). And we read time after time how Jesus took breaks from his work to rest and pray. These “vacations” helped him stay physically, mentally, and spiritually sharp.
Jesus took one such “vacation” near the end of his earthly ministry as he made his way to Jerusalem where he would be arrested and crucified. I want to share that story with you today.
Slides – Luke 10:38-42
41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Take time to sharpen your saw. People usually think of Christianity as a bunch of religious rules and obligations. That's not true at all. Christianity is an invitation to an ongoing vacation from the worries of a selfish life. Perhaps this is expressed best in Jesus invitation from Matthew 11:28 where he said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Christianity is an invitation to walk away from doing things the way the world says you must and to live differently--the way Christ lives. The Christian life is not always easy, but it is always good and wholesome and leaves you feeling refreshed and whole even when it is hard work that makes you tired. So I invite you--as Christ does--to walk away from your weary ways and come find true rest in Jesus Christ.