Are You Losing Your Edge?
How you can get your effectiveness in ministry back.
After Elijah went to heaven in a fiery chariot (what other way would you expect him to go?), Elisha began his ministry. His work for God resembles his teacher’s in so many ways. There is an incident in his life that teaches us about different aspects of prayer. It is found in 2 Kings 6:1-7, and it has many good applications for those of us serving in ministry.
Some of the young men living near the Jordan came to Elisha and said, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to live” (2 Kings 6:1-2). This was a nice problem to have.
At first Elisha said, “Go,” to which one young man replied, “Won’t you please come with your servants?” (vv. 2-3). Elisha acquiesced, and so they all went down to the Jordan and, choosing a site, got to work.
One of the young men, using a borrowed ax, wielded it with a little too much enthusiasm, and the ax head fell off into the water. An ax head was a prized possession, and the young man was understandably upset. Apparently Elisha was working within earshot, and immediately the man cried out to him, “Oh, my lord,…it was borrowed!” (v. 5).
Elisha asked him, “Where did it fall?” (v. 6). After the young man had shown him the place the ax had fallen in the water, the prophet cut a stick and threw it in there. Then an amazing thing happened. The lost ax head floated to the top of the water, and Elisha told the young man to “lift it out.” The relieved servant of the Lord “reached out his hand and took it” (v. 7). Now this is a delightful little miracle that can give us some insight into why we lose effectiveness in our Christian lives.
First of all, we have the man in training. He, like the master Elisha, had burned whatever bridges needed to be burned to be in this school. His priorities were in order. There was nothing wrong with his heart. It mustn’t have been easy to cut down the huge trees that would be needed to build a large building. No chain saws in those days! So here we have youth married to obvious enthusiasm and total commitment, carrying out the work of the Lord, when all of a sudden he loses his cutting edge! Right in the middle of serving too.
This can happen to us as well. We can have our Christian life in good order and suddenly become aware that something is missing. Prayer is boring, the Bible bland, and worship stale. Worse, even though we go through the motions and witness to unbelievers, they don’t seem to listen to us. We have lost our effectiveness.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to alert us to this. He is the one wh ...
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