The axe and the fire
“The axe has been laid to the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’”
Where is your axe? Where is the fire?
Make sure it is laying at the foot of the trees and make sure the fire can be seen.
Is that seen to be threatening? Perhaps.
But trees are trees because they produce fruit.
We are called to produce, to be effective, to grow.
If these things are not happening then we need to bring change.
Why keep things that are not growing and so have no reason for being there?
Is it still a tree? Yes of course.
Can it be used for other things? Of course.
But if no fruit then it is not being what it was meant to be.
The message is this:
1. Don’t let things occupy positions if they are not producing effectiveness. Make the change.
2. Persistence pays off’ and ‘hanging in there’ needs accountability and wisdom for it to be worthwhile. You might need to make small changes in order to be productive. But set target dates with advice and if things don’t turn around then make the change.
The axe and the fire need to be a motivating factor for productivity.
If that creates a fear it does so only for the lazy and the ones who want to get through life with the minimum amount of sweat.
For those who see the privilege of being involved in the work of God there is no fear.
In between the axe and the fire we need to steward this opportunity we have to grow, to influence and do the work of God.
It is not complicated but we have made it so.
It is simple. We were made to grow, to inspire, to produce and it all comes through doing the work of God.
Resting occupies only a small part of the week. The majority of our lives is in the work of God.
A sabbath comes only after 6 days of productivity.
No productivity then the sabbath is not needed.
As you wake today you get ready to do the work.
There is much to do.
Without further study and what’s in my memory, this is a list of work duties that are needed to done:
Be devoted to one another
I have seen Christians and Churches in the most oppressed of times grow. I have seen productivity in places where it would seem impossible for the work to continue. Poverty, disease, persecution and many attacks only seem to inspire the work to flourish.
In many spheres of life when things are not producing then an examination of the work and the workforce takes place and changes are often made.
Some people in our churches understand productivity outside the Church better than inside it. They get it. They are not afraid of the axe and the fire as it is part of their every day life.
An old retired Pastor told me the other day of a prominent historical church where the pianist had played the piano for many years. They had invited a visiting singing ministry to come to the Church who had also brought with them their own pianist. They were asked to lead the Church in a hymn but the Church pianist would not leave the piano clinging on to her piano stool that she had sat on for many years for dear life. In the end 2 deacons had to lift her off the piano so that the visiting ministry team could lead the Church in a strong united song of worship!
The axe and the fire was needed.
We have in some cases replaced fruitfulness with faithfulness. But we have failed to see that being faithful is being fruitful.
Maybe we need to pick up the axe. If we don’t then we certainly need to place it in full view that anything can be changed and nothing is here for ever. The Church is here to produce on earth. Christians are not here for gifts only but graces.