Four large tomatoes sat on the cutting board. My mission was to reduce those crimson orbs into thin slices fit for a banquet of BLTs that were about to be attacked by a sea of hungry, smiling faces waiting in the dining room. I selected my prefered knife for the task, and noticed it was dull. Before I touched a single tomato, that knife and I had a destiny with the sharpening block. I pictured a freshly sharpened knife floating through a tomato, making perfectly even slices.
If you are anything like me, you sometimes find yourself dull, just like that knife. Not dull, in the sense of boring. (At least I hope not; people still laugh at my jokes, after all.) Rather, dull in the sense that you’ve lost your edge. I do this when I focus too much on one thing. When I do, other things lose their focus.
For instance, I just started working for a new company. It takes a lot of time and energy to get up to speed on the new demands. While I am focused on all that, I tend to not be focused on all the other places that need attention. Those areas of my life start to erode away and become dull.
I can tell, by the way my wife and kids talk to me, that I have not been investing well into their lives. I can tell by the thoughts that pass through my mind, that I have not been investing well in seeking a holy life. I can tell by the absence of my friends around me, that I have not been investing in their lives. That has all been evident to me these last few weeks.
Thankfully, I have one who sharpens me. My accountability partner and friend makes a point to reach out to me and meet with me. He is there to hear about how I am doing. He challenges me in the areas that I may not readily volunteer information about. He shares his struggles and challenges, and also his successes, and gives me hope that I am not alone (or hopeless) in this journey towards heaven.
As it says in Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity” (NIV). And Proverbs 27:17 says, “As Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (NIV) .
If you are like me, you need someone in your life to challenge you, encourage you and pray with you. I desire to be a sharpened instrument in the hands of my God, and He uses good friends in my life to keep me sharp. My wife and children feel loved and safe when I am sharpened. My heart and eyes turn toward heaven when I am sharpened.
Do you have a friend that you could challenge to be your accountability partner? Do you feel God placing a name of someone on your mind? Maybe you should ask him to meet with you regularly and challenge you. Make the investment in another man’s life, and open yourself to the investment he will make in yours. Your family with thank you for it, and your God will be honored by your courage and willingness to be sharpened.