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Sharpen Your Axe This Summer

Sharpen Your Axe This Summer

By guest blogger and catechist Deanna Danielle

Before making a decision or reaching a conclusion, there is often much to think about. Good timing works best when we’re motivated by the joy of learning. To give this thought a kickstart, I’d like to share a story about an annual lumberjack competition. The competitors were an older, experienced lumberjack and a strong fellow about twenty years his junior. The rules of the competition were simple: the two lumberjacks would be sent into the woods, and the one who could cut down the most trees in eight hours would be the winner.

The younger lumberjack was full of enthusiasm and went off into the woods and immediately started cutting down trees. He worked all through the day, barely taking time to catch his breath or grab some food and water. He felt confident because he could hear the older fellow’s noise occasionally stop. The younger lumberjack assumed the older guy was taking breaks because of his age and lesser strength. He was confident his youth and stamina would win him the competition.

When the final whistle blew, the younger lumberjack felt confident that he had won as he looked out over the piles of trees he had cut down. He made his way to the podium for the medal ceremony and climbed to the platform, confident of his victory. The older fellow was there, looking much less tired than he expected. When it was time to announce the winner, the younger lumberjack expected to hear his name but was devastated when the older man was declared the winner. The younger man turned to the winner and asked: “How can this be? I heard you taking breaks every hour while I worked continuously. I am younger, fitter, and stronger than you. How could you possibly have beaten me?” The older man smiled and said: “Son, I was not stopping to rest. I was stopping to sharpen my axe.”

The moral of the story is to never neglect the time and effort necessary for before action. Prayer, study, research, and preparation are all imperative steps before rushing into something. Acting without consideration could be all it takes to lose it all. A woodsman once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Some things do need our immediate action, but when we have a foundation of knowledge to act on, it is as if our axe has already been sharpened and is waiting to be used. The future is in front of us; however, it’s not only being supported by what’s under it, but also by what is behind it.

Life is a process; nonetheless, the present moment is so very important. It’s a good time to recognize that how we choose to live will affect those here with us as well as the generations to come. Praise be to God, who loves us so much that he takes the time to help us and be with us. Praise be to God whose hand is held out to care for, protect, teach, and guide us even when we are too busy to notice . . .

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” –Colossians 3:17

As learning is also a process, let’s consider this moment. May we give all the glory, honor, and praise to God. For it is by his grace that we can embrace and enjoy more of the life that he has given us—and that’s through good times, difficult times, and ones that seem very ordinary.

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father, in the Name of Jesus and by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our paths, fill us with the riches of your grace, transform our minds with healthy balance that is good for our bodies and souls. Guide us with your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that you created us to be. In your holy name, we pray. Amen

Read more of Deanna’s blog postings here.

Image credit: Wilfried GUYOT/CIRIC

8 Responses to “Sharpen Your Axe This Summer”


  • Stephanie Ricciardi / Reply

    Loved this blog! Great words of wisdom @Deanna! Beautiful job!!


  • Vincent Ricciardi / Reply

    Great story! I could really relate to the lumberjack. Keep sharpening your pencil and keep writing.


  • Msgr. Luke Sweeney / Reply

    Thank you so much, Deanna – what an important reminder for all we do!


  • Dominique / Reply

    “Life is a process” … what an accurate and thoughtful statement. I loved this blog post and everything it entails. Great work, Deanna!


  • Alison Pucci / Reply

    Just what I needed to read today. Danielle, you have the best timing❤️


  • Gloria Ronca / Reply

    What a great story. It opens one’s eyes to the gracious gift of wisdom and faith given to the older on the lumberjack. He trusted, relied, depended on God who gave him this gift. By his belief and diligence, he gained the confidence and assurance of his position in life. He did not consume himself with competition. He trusted in the Lord; therefore he had the victory. Whereas the younger lumberjack lost because he was prideful and a self seeker.

    Conclusion: God does not seek the outer appearance of man. He sees and seeks his heart. We also should do the same. Never judge a book by its cover.

    Thank you, Deanna Danielle, for another one of your writings that helps one to look a little deeper into oneself and remember all the Glory goes to God.


  • Tina Pantginis / Reply

    What a lovely message! We all need to practice pausing in life, and model it for the younger generation. Keep up your good works!


  • Kristen / Reply

    Wow! What encouraging reminders to God’s graciousness towards us. Life is a process. And how blessed we are to be able to go to Him in prayer and seek His word for guidance and wisdom. So thankful to have read this and look forward to reading more!


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