“If your ax is dull, and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NIV)
“Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.” Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NLT)
Learning, while valuable and worthwhile, is frequently difficult, thankless, and even painful. Anyone who has learned a life lesson “the hard way” can attest to the fact that learning via experience can hurt. We don’t have enough time in this life to make all the mistakes ourselves, so it’s beneficial to learn from others and gain wisdom and insight from those who have accomplished what we want to achieve.
There are different ways to learn things and gain wisdom. Some are thankless, at least until time has passed and we finally reap what we’ve sown. One Biblical example of this is seen in the father of Solomon, King David. Long before becoming King, David learned to fight while defending his father’s sheep. Yet it wasn’t until he fought Goliath that he received any credit or appreciation for countless hours of practice and training.
Learning can be very painful as well. Joseph was mistreated by his family, sold into slavery by his brothers, accused of a crime he didn’t commit, and honed his management and organization skills in prison. Yet Joseph’s painful learning experiences eventually put him in the perfect place to save the lives of countless people, both among the Egyptians and his own family.
The learning process can be difficult, but if we keep the ax of our mind sharp we will eventually succeed.
Prayer: Dear Lord, sometimes it’s hard to learn. Sometimes the process of learning and sharpening my skills feels thankless and even painful. When I struggle, please strengthen me. I ask that you would remind me of those who have gone before me, who have succeeded because they sharpened their skills. Help create in me a drive and desire to learn, and may my actions continually honor you. Amen