“Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” –Mark 6:31 (NKJV).
There’s a story that’s made the rounds through the years among preachers that goes like this:
There was once a lumberjack who was looking for work. The man approached the manager of a wood supplier, asked if he needed any help, and was promptly hired on a temporary basis. The manager explained that he would monitor the lumberjack’s production and let him know at the end of the week if he would be hired on a permanent basis.
The lumberjack was strong and had a tremendous work ethic. He worked as hard as he could all week long and approached the manager with confidence that the job would be his. The lumberjack was surprised to learn that he would not be retained with the wood supplier. The manager explained that while the young man was ambitious, hard working and strong, his production had fallen off tremendously as the week had progressed.
After discussing the drop in production for a few moments, the manager asked the young man a very important question, “Did you stop at any point during the week to sharpen your ax?” The young man answered that he was so busy working that he had not taken time to do anything but cut wood. The manager quickly decided to hire the lumberjack on the condition that he would be sure to sharpen his ax every day moving forward.
It’s likely that you quickly realized where the story was headed and that you also thought of some very good applications for a Christian and their walk with the Lord.
Let me challenge you to think about another application as it relates to missions and the Cooperative Program.
One of the great strengths of our Cooperative Program is allowing our missionaries time to sharpen their ax. Not only do your CP gifts fund the initial training of missionaries and church planters, but when missionaries come home from the field to visit family and friends, they are not compelled to raise funds. Our missionaries can get much needed and well-deserved rest. They have time to recharge their physical, emotional and spiritual batteries rather than have the pressure to make sure that the money they need to survive on the field will still be available.
The needs of a lost and dying world never stop, and the work of the Great Commission will not be finished until our Lord returns. Those we send to the uttermost parts of the world recognize the vast, seemingly unending needs their ministries have. What a wonderful blessing it is for those serving in faraway places to have a strong network of support that allows them to sharpen their axes and be rejuvenated for the tasks they will return to.
Let’s continue to support the Great Commission in the best way possible – together through the Cooperative Program.
State Missionary Jay Stewart serves as director of Cooperative Program & Church Financial Resources. He may be contacted at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 2283, or (334) 613-2283, firstname.lastname@example.org.