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TITLE: Don’t Be an Ax Handle
By Patty Wysong

740 words
Target audience I'm aiming for is those who are busy doing God's work, whether in the church or out in life. Busyness does not equal joyful! I was trying to 'conversationalize' a message, did I accomplish that or am I preachy? Any comments, critques and suggestions are greatly welcomed! Thanks!
When Pastor Mike opened his sermon the other day with, “This isn’t the sermon I had prepared for today, but it’s what I feel God wants me to preach,” I was excited. All right! What’s God gonna say to me today?

Susan, my daughter, handed me a note and I noticed her eyes were bugging out of her head, “Mom! He brought a long stick up to the pulpit with him!!” I had to snicker and wonder about the stick, too, Pastor Mike is well known for getting wound up in his messages, kicking his pulpit and tossing his handkerchief in the air. I wonder what he’ll do with that stick!

We turned to 2 Kings 6:1-7, which is the account of the prophet of God who was working with Elisha, and in the process the ax head, which was borrowed, flew into the river. Now, we all know that prophets are not rich, so he couldn’t just run to Wally World for a replacement. Losing that ax head was a big deal, you can’t cut down trees with just an ax handle!

Pastor Mike likened the ax head to God’s power in our lives. Without an ax head, an ax handle is pretty useless, and without God’s power, we’re pretty useless, too. You know you’ve lost your ax head if the joy is gone-you can be busy doing God’s work and be miserable.

That prophet was involved in a noble work-he was building for God-but he still lost the ax head by neglecting to take care of it properly. He jumped into the work without attaching the ax head well and without that ax head he was powerless to chop down trees. He could’ve kept swinging the ax handle, but he would’ve accomplished nothing. Well, he would’ve exhausted himself, drained all his energy and had nothing to show for all that work.

It doesn’t matter how enthusiastic you are, without God’s power in your life, you’ll just be swinging an empty ax handle, accomplishing nothing except wearing yourself out.

But the prophet was a smart man. What did he do? “Alas, my master! For it was borrowed!” He admitted he had lost it; he didn’t just keep swinging away, going through the motions. Then he acknowledged that what he had, and needed most, wasn’t even his to begin with.

To regain that power and joy we need to follow the prophet’s example and admit we’ve lost it, and cry out to our Master, as he did. We also need to acknowledge that the power we lost wasn’t ours to begin with-any power in our lives comes from God and belongs to Him. Of ourselves we have nothing to offer anyone that can save or even change their lives. That power is God’s alone!

Elisha asked a question we’ve asked thousands of times, “Where did you loose it?” To get back the ax head, the prophet had to go back to where he’d lost it, and like so many of us, he knew right where that was. Elisha wasn’t trusting in human force to find that which was lost by human fault. He looked for a Divine Miracle, trusted in God’s power to get it back, and the ax head floated. The power of God made it happen.

To regain the ax head, God’s power in our lives, we need to go back to the place where we lost it. When we think about it, we know where that is, and that’s where we have to return to, whether we want to or not.

Would it have done any good if the prophet had just left it floating? No! He had to reach out and take what God was giving back to him. God brought it to the surface and offered it, but the man had to reach out and grab it. We cannot look to man, we need to trust in God’s power. Then, when God makes that ax head float we need to reach out grab onto it. Only God is capable of returning His power and joy to our lives, and He wants to give it back to us!

Pastor Mike keeps the ax handle in his office as a reminder not to be an empty ax handle. Without an ax head a handle is useless. We’re simply a handle-useless without the ax head of God’s power in our lives.

Don’t be an empty ax handle.
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