You’re either moving too fast or too slow.

by Aug 20, 2019

You’re either moving too fast or too slow.

by Aug 20, 2019

Here’s something I’ve noticed about myself: There are some seasons of life when I feel like I’m charging ahead blindly. There are other seasons when I feel like I’ve fallen behind where I should be. It’s rare that I feel like I’m going exactly the right direction at exactly the right speed.

According to Solomon, that’s common. On the one hand, sometimes we go out and do stuff, just for the sake of getting stuff done: “If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen its edge, then one must exert more strength.” (Ecclesiastes 10:10).

Imagine trying to chop down a giant monkeypod tree, using a completely dull axe. You would be working all week trying to get that thing down. You’re working hard, but you’re not working smart. If you just took a few minutes to sharpen your blade, you could chop down a field of trees in one afternoon.

There’s a tendency we have to get impatient, and just charge ahead in life without thinking about what we’re doing, or how we’re doing it. We charge into school: “Gotta get a degree!” We charge into jobs: “Gotta get ahead in my career!” We charge into relationships: “Gotta get a ring on this finger!”

We go and charge and do, but we never stop to ask ourselves, “What am I really accomplishing with everything I’m doing? We never stop to say, “Hey, I’ve been swinging my axe all day … but what good has it done?”

Solomon’s encouraging us to take things slow. Hit pause and take a step back to sharpen your axe. Stop hacking away at life and pursue wisdom. Ask questions like, “Is this the right school for me? The right program for me? Is this the right job where I’ll grow best? Where I’ll be used best? Is this the right person to pursue a relationship with?”

That’s how you sharpen your axe. It’s going to take more time on the front end. But that’s better than missing out on God’s best for us in the long run. Moving too fast can get us into trouble.

On the other hand, so can moving too slow. As Solomon says, “If the snake bites before it is charmed, then there is no advantage for the charmer” (Ecclesiastes 10:11). Just try to imagine this snake-charmer. He comes and he sits down in the marketplace. He puts down this basket with a cobra inside. He lifts the cover off the basket, and he’s getting ready to start the snake-charming show, but then he feels his phone buzz. It’s a notification. He pulls out his phone, and he sees his buddy just sent him a hilarious YouTube video.

The snake-charmer is laughing his head off. And then he notices … his snake … is attached to his wrist. … Aggghh! And then he notices … his face … is on the floor.

If there’s a venomous snake sitting right in front of you? You can’t wait to deal with it later. Later is going to be too late. You need to jump in and deal with it. Right now!

There are always snakes in life that need to be dealt with quickly. Your grades in school are starting to slip? You can’t say, “Ehhhhh…I’ll do better next year.” Next year becomes next year, becomes next year, and then you get bit by the snake. Or maybe there’s conflict starting to creep into your marriage. A little bickering here and there has a lot of bickering all the time. You can’t say, “Ehhhh…it’s just this stressful season we’re in right now. It will get better next year.” Maybe it will. But maybe not. You gotta jump in and deal with it now, or you might get bit by the snake.

There are dangers in life you need to jump on, and there are opportunities in life you need jump on. If you’re a snake-charmer, you’ve got a particular set of skills. If you don’t use them? You lose them. You lose your life!

And every one of us has a particular set of skills. You’ve got particular gifts, talents, knowledge, and experience. You have particular relationships, connections, and influence. We can’t just sit around. We need to use the gifts we’ve been given, and the opportunities we’ve been given.

You’re either a tortoise or a hare. And according to Solomon, neither one wins the race every time. Where do you need to slow down in life? Where do you need to speed up?