2 Kings 6:5
But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.
Something out of the ordinary always happens when I borrow someone else’s tools or property. I once borrowed a wood chipper from a church friend for about one hour of work. As I was wheeling the chipper into my garage after completion of the job, it hit a rock, tipped over and broke the only piece on plastic on the machine. Of course, this plastic housed a switch to control the engine’s throttle. Thankfully, my friend was understanding and eBay had the part for a less than $50. The same is usually true when we ask to hit someone else’s new $500 driver. If it can go wrong, it will when you “test drive” someone else’s equipment. A “sky mark” on the club head or broken shaft is inevitable.
In 2 Kings 6:5, we read the story about the borrowed axe in order to cut the wood necessary to build larger housing for the “sons of the prophets.” Elisha approved and blessed the project. However, soon into the logging phase, the axe head flew off of the handle and landed into a body of water. The user became distraught as the axe had been borrowed. Iron was a valuable resource and the owner would have certainly been disappointed. Instead of diving into the water, Elisha threw a stick into the water which miraculously made the axe head float to the top. Elisha then had the man retrieve the valuable piece of iron.
Sometimes we find ourselves confused about our role in the ministry. We identify those who are lost and undone, yet feel powerless in the “saving process.” We take it personal when our invitations to church seemingly fail or when our own testimony of the power of Christ within our own life falls on “deaf ears.” We come to a point and finally realize we cannot do the saving. We can only identify the need and point to its location, but God actually does the saving. Our efforts can lead a person in the right direction, but it takes Christ to bring about conviction and any effectual change within the heart of the lost. We only have control over “the stick.”
Just as Elisha tossed the stick into the general vicinity of the sinking axe head, we must have similar faith to offer our witness to a sinking world. God knows the need and the location of the need, but it is the job of the believer to throw out the buoy or the means of salvation. Sometimes we have to use greater efforts or a longer stick for those who have seemingly fallen the furthest. Our God does not have short arms. His reach is great as is His power to bring the lost up from a sunken condition.
We feel the need to exercise greater care with things which we have borrowed. The same level of care must be afforded to those who are lost without Jesus. Let us carry big sticks and a realization that our stick is only means of which we have control. Christ does all of the saving!