This morning in church and then tonight in a journey group this passage in proverbs was discussed in length.u For me this is one of those pivotal verses in the life of a disciple of Christ. Dan mentioned how the proverb did not say that a wet stone (or in most of our lives, that sharpener on the back of the automatic can opener) sharpens iron. Of the majority of us who have ever sharpened a knife, I would dare to say not a single one did so by using another knife.
There are the obvious reasons why we do not use knives to sharpen knives and here are my thoughts on them and how they pertain to our friendships.
First off, it would take entirely too long. Can you imagine? Using a knife to sharpen another one? It would take a lifetime. Just as with knife sharpening, I think it is awesome how this applies in our lives. In order to be sharpened and to sharpen someone else spiritually takes a long time and a deep relationship. We cannot just meet someone and expect them to be sharpening us or is sharpening them. As Dan put it, they have to be able to trample around in our soul first.
Secondly, do you know what happens when two pieces of metal are rubbed together? It makes an awful noise. It's like nails and a chalkboard on steroids. Why would you want to put up with that to sharpen a knife for a lifetime? The main reason for the noise is because of friction. The metal is adding resistance to the other piece of metal causing a noise. Now, when using a wet stone there is no friction. There is an oil placed on the stone that provides smooth movement between the knife and the stone. Again, in our friendships wouldn't it be nice if things were always smooth and there was never any friction? Sure from a comfort standpoint, from a growth perspective you have to have the friction and noise to drive growth. Haven't you had that time in your life when you and a friend were having a major argument and by the time you had worked it out you were infinitely closer? Just as with the gospel, where we have to be wounded to be healed, in true friendship their must be friction to produce sharpening.
Finally, another significant thing that happens when two pieces of metal are rubbed together is that sparks fly. You know when a person takes a grinder and puts to a piece of metal to smooth an edge, and that shower of sparks comes off. Again, caused by friction but lets take a little different approach to looking at this in our friendships. How many times have you and your close friend got into an argument or debate which got somewhat heated? I know I have and the sparks begin to fly. However, typically when sparks are flying it means that the two people having the discussion have very strong opinions about what the best decision is. This is where the best ideas are birthed and people are able to see the flaws in thief viewpoint; therefore being sharpened.
As we move into the next week lets not be afraid to put metal to metal.
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