In my efforts as an entrepreneur to grow my businesses it occurred to me; I carry a resentment toward those in my life who seem to have a crystal-clear road paved for them. I hold a resentment toward those who seem to have opportunities knocking down their door with little to no effort of their own. I am resentful of those who have not had to live in the “fight” it takes to go from nothing to something.
These are the likely the same people I resented as a teen who never studied for tests in school but always aced them. Meanwhile I could study for weeks and end up with an acceptable grade. My toil and study though long and hard produced small fruit of little substance. At least that is what I tell myself when I throw my own pity party. “Labor Day should not be a holiday for everyone.” I process through statements like these in my small, short-sighted and me-centered mind.
In studying the Bible this week, I came across a verse in Ecclesiastes that talks about wisdom. My mind and heart have been wrestling to fully understand these words.
Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.”
I wrestled with this one, because I can see wisdom in this verse in a few ways. The first, if the ax is dull – SHARPEN IT. Wisdom is displayed in the sharpened ax.
The second, wisdom found in the consistency of using the tools you have. Wisdom is found in the strength and skills developed through the effort exerted from using a dull ax.
The third, maybe true wisdom in this verse is this, to faithfully use the tools that we have, no matter how we perceive their condition and TRUST THE PROCESS. Trust that when we have become strong and skilled using the dull ax,God will sharpen the dull ax. Maybe he wants to see a faithful commitment to the work before he opens the doors to efficiency and opportunity.
I look at this verse and think, sure, the people in my life who seem to have things land in their lap, perhaps they are just working with sharp tools. And then for the people like me, who must charge hard, to grapple, to be consistent, patient and wait for return for the effort, we are just becoming strong and skilled using a dull ax. I believe that wisdom is knowing your position. Of course, not everyone is assigned the same role, or position.
Through this I have come to see that the quicker I can let go of the resentment I harbor toward others because of the position they were chosen for, and cling to my assignment and gifts, the quicker I can focus on getting strong and skilled right where God has me. The quicker I can be useful and usable for him with the tools he has given me to utilize. And then I just need to trust him to determine when I am ready to wield the sharpened ax.
If you find yourself in a similar place, where you look around and think “what’s wrong with me? Why is everything I do take such effort to move the needle even a smudge? Why do they get everything handed to them? I work so hard – night and day – but what have they done?” Will you take time to sit quiet before God? Put all your doing and going on pause. And sit. Meditate on his words. Ask him to let help you to let go of the resentment and find peace and contentment in the place God has you. Ask him to help you find comfort in how he has gifted you.