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A Little Edgework

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A Little Edgework

Written by Jake Hannon

For he who has once entered [God's] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own. [Gen 2:2]. Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves]. Hebrews 4:10-11a

It is hard to find a hockey player that truly enjoys working on the fundamentals. We are a generation that lives for toe drags and magical one handed shootout moves! Although, on the flip side, you could definitely argue that only a true hockey player does enjoy working on the fundamentals!! When I used to see Patrick Kane around the rinks in Buffalo as a kid he always had a ball on his stick. Regardless, it is not usually a popular time at practice when Coach tells everyone to get in three lanes on the goal line to work on some full ice edgework!

In our walk with Jesus, edgework is very important. But I may be talking about a little different type of edgework than you are thinking. Let me tell you a story

There was an old man and a young man in a small woodland town. One day, the young man challenged the old man to a lumber cutting competition. The old man had been cutting lumber for many decades and had much wisdom but his age had taken a toll on his physical state. The ambitious young man had all the energy in the world and seemed like the favorite to win the challenge and become the next "king of lumber cutting" in the town.

On a crisp but sunny Saturday morning, the two men rolled up their sleeves and began chopping trees at dawn with the whole town watching. The young man kept a relentless pace while the old man seemed just a step behind. Furthermore, every hour, the old man would cease cutting for about five minutes and rest behind a tree. All the spectators laughed as they replenished their lemonades and cheered on the young man's rise to glory. Yet, the old man pressed on.

At dusk, a whistle was blown and the two lumber cutters halted their efforts. The trees were bagged and a final count was proposed. To the shock of everyone, the old man had cut down more trees! People began shouting, "How did you do it?", "He must have cheated!", "The young man didn't stop to rest one time!". The old man calmly wiped the edge of his axe and addressed the crowd: "I did not cheat. Although, I did have an advantage. See, while I took a few minutes to rest each hour, I sat and sharpened the edge of my axe. At no point during the whole day was I wasting a single chop due to dullness".

The crowd was astonished. Everyone learned a valuable lesson that day. All the ambition, effort, and force in the world can be wasted if it is simply not harnessed and permitted to be on the right trajectory. In the same way, all of our spiritual fervor and effort (while well intentioned) can be ineffective and harmful if we are not careful to take the adequate time we need to rest and refuel. Resting in the Lord is so important. The writer of Hebrews even went as far as saying that all of our efforts should be geared towards rest! There are many ways to rest - praying on a walk in the park, playing our favorite sport for God's glory, blasting worship music in the car, grabbing a cup of coffee and digging in the Word, or anything else that causes us to relax and regain God's perspective on life. Satan is always looking for ways to get us to forget the power of rest and to take us away from the truth - that we are loved, victorious, and always going from glory to glory. If we do not take time every day to let the truth of God's promises overrule the lies around us, we will always be fighting the good fight with a dull axe! We NEED to remember that the power of the Christian life is not in our strong will or effort but in the life giving joy of our salvation! Jesus has finished all of the work of reconciling us to God on the cross and he is now SEATED at the right hand of God (Ephesians 1:20, Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 8:1, Hebrews 12:2). Our greatest concern must always be to know nothing besides what has been accomplished for us (1 Corinthians 2:2)!

Let's not let our kingdom efficiency be compromised by burnout and spiritual dullness!! Are you tired of chopping with a dull axe? Gain a fresh edge and take some time to simply rest in the presence of God today!

Discussion Questions

  1. What is your favorite way to rest with God?
  2. What is the most encouraging verse that sort of centers your life?
  3. What are some ways you think you can put more effort into resting?

Additional Reading

  1. Ephesians 1:20
  2. 1 Corinthians 2:2
  3. Colossians 1:17

About the Author

Jake is a 2013 graduate of Liberty University and played one season with the Flames. Before attending Liberty in 2011 for his last season of college eligibility, Jake spent two years playing for NCAA Division III Amherst College and one year playing for NCAA Division I Army. The former defenseman has four years of Junior Hockey experience before college as well, having spent time in the USHL, EJHL, NAHL, and CJHL at various points in his career. After college, Jake spent one year as the Liberty Hockey Team Chaplain before being offered the position of Assistant Coach for the team. After two years of coaching the Flames, Jake was called into full time ministry in Buffalo, NY. Jake now lives in Buffalo and serves as the Erie County Area Representative for FCA. Jake is married to Rebecca and has three children - Grace, Daniel and Gabby.

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