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
Working hard without intelligence [using your head] will produce more sweat than success.
~Ya’akov [Adapted from image Quotes]
My father was a hard worker and so was his mother. My father’s father, Joe David Bailey the first, was an entrepreneur who had several businesses going before his fatal accident. He had a store, a pedal truck, a cotton gin, a farm and a logging business. My mother spoke reverently about my grand daddy. I always felt a little sorry for daddy because mother would break out in a litany of praise for Granddaddy and then she would say, “Your daddy is nothing like him. He is just like his mama.” It humbles me to reflect on these conversations now because my daddy never refuted anything mother said about granddaddy. Of course when granddaddy got killed, their world fell apart and Mamaw, as we called her, had to struggle to survive. Daddy was the oldest at 16 but there were four more: Crutcher 14, Cora 12, Ruth 10 and Floyd 3. Mamaw had to begin selling things just to stay afloat and eventually she wound up with half of the farm and a house. Both she and my daddy worked hard but they did not have granddaddy’s gift of working smart and neither do I.
Solomon was like my neighbor and mentor James M. Newby, he worked smart. Mr. James ran things: no one questioned his authority but he organized it is such a way that he was seldom in the field. If he was in the field or on a tractor, you knew something was wrong. I told daddy more than once, “Why don’t you do like Mr. James and just send us to the field and trust us to get the job done?” I will not tell you what he said but it was not a compliment to me. I know what you think: you don’t blame him for not trusting me but I had two older brothers and he didn’t trust them either. Unfortunately, I am much more like my daddy than I am Mr. James or granddaddy. I am horrible at delegating. When I see something that needs to be done, I try to do it myself. Hard work has therapeutic value to me; it is a stress reliever. I’m not bragging, I am confessing. People like my daddy and myself will never accomplish anything of great significance because we have limited ourselves. We are missing that ‘smart’ gene. We go at it like fighting fire thinking that hard work, sweat and extreme toil will accomplish the task and this is not always true.
My first church out of Seminary was in Cherokee, Alabama. They did not have a fellowship hall and so after we had been there a couple of years, they decided to build one. They hired a man to supervise the project and he was to use volunteers from the church. Don’t laugh, it worked but guess who the main volunteer became? There were several days when it was just he and yours truly and I can tell you how he started everyday. He pulled up at 7:00 am on the dot and put the tailgate of his pickup down and began sharpening his saw blade. He did it everyday. Can I tell you how the son of Eugene Bailey thinks: here we go. Why sharpen it every day? If you hit a nail or something, I understand but sharpening the saw everyday is a waste of valuable time. Not to him, it wasn’t. You can build with dull blades or chop with a dull ax but you will use more energy and get less done. Actually, a chain saw is a better illustration for me. Every time someone uses my saws they hit the ground or an object and I despise a dull chain. I cannot sharpen one but Willard or Joe can and it pays to take the time to sharpen the chain.
You are probably thinking, “I don’t build houses and I don’t cut wood, so Solomon is not talking to me.” Yes he is! Whatever your skills are, you need to improve, you need to become sharper. We call it continuing education. Take time, take a break, take a class, read a book, talk to a mentor but never stop trying to sharpen your skills. I am not satisfied with my preaching. I have to improve. I must get better. I had fun preaching at DBC last Sunday but I was not satisfied with the message and for this last 48 hours my mind has been focused on getting better.
- Another beautiful day: THANK YOU JESUS!
- Mickey Childers had an arteriogram yesterday and it came out find. Mickey is one of our members at GRACE POINT. He knows a lot of folks from Danville. He knows Marti and Robert Pope and he knew John Tanner well. He also knows Jimmy and Jerry Newby. It is a small world.