You’ve probably had those times in your life where you have had to go talk things through with someone. That someone is usually someone you trust. The little talks, in my experience start in much the same way every time. They usually start with that someone saying something like, “have a seat. Now, tell me what happened.” This is one of the biggest keys to the solving of the problem.
I mentioned before about the bible study Elisha: a Tale of Ridiculous Faith. Elisha did some cool stuff. There is one story in 2 Kings chapter 6 where Elisha was with some other guys down by the river felling trees for lumber. The events that happened may sound kind of trivial but they are, once you get down to brass tacks, very profound.
In verse 5, one of the guys came to Elisha all bent out of shape because he had lost an ax head in the water.
Two questions arise from this verse. The first is, how did he lose an ax head in the water?! If you are cutting a tree down with an ax, there are alot of things that can go wrong. Most of those things can be avoided by properly maintaining your equipment. An ax head is affixed to the ax handle by putting the handle in the hole in the ax head, then driving a wedge into the gap between the head and the handle so that that joint is hard and doesn’t move. That joint has to be maintained though. When using the ax, the ax head gets loose on the handle and can fly off. If the head flies off, it can get dangerous. Or if you aren’t paying attention and whatever you are chopping gets hit by the handle instead of the head, the handle can fracture and the head goes flying. Real life application that can be derived from this is that we need to maintain our relationships, habits, etc. so that they stay in good functional condition. When things go wrong in our lives, there is usually something we could have done to prevent it.
The other question is, why was he so upset about it? Well, he said that it was borrowed. This is important for two reasons. First reason being that you couldn’t just drive over to Home Depot and get another one. The second reason is that folks back then took more care with others’ stuff more than their own. That is a concept lost on people of today. Real world application can be seen in trust for example. If someone trusts us, then finds that trust misplaced, that is not something easily replaced if it ever can be.
If we take it a step further though, everything we have and are are on loan to us. Nothing belongs to us. So, when we lose something, it was something that belonged to someone else. Who would that someone be? Everything belongs to God.
All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”
John 1:3 (NASB)
In verse 6, Elisha basically says, “calm down. Now, where did it fall in the water at?” Sound familiar? kinda the “have a seat. Tell me what happened” kinda thing huh?
This is important to illustrate that we have to go back to where we lost whatever it is in our lives that has gotten screwed up before we can pick up the pieces and put it back together. When it is something bad enough to need to go get someone’s help with, it usually isn’t pleasant reliving it again even in the telling of it. In the case of broken trust, you have to go back to that person knowing that they are hurt…by you…before you can work to regain the trust.
Where this ax head fell was into the Jordan River. The Jordan had a reputation for being the dirtiest river around. If you drop something in six inches of water, the water was so dirty you couldn’t see it. When Elisha tossed the stick in that location, the iron floated to the surface…wait, what?!…Iron?!…FLOAT?! There are some things that ONLY God can make happen.
The final point that this story has for us, and probably the most important, is this. When the ax head floated, the man was told to reach and get it himself. Elisha didn’t want to go out into that nasty water and get it. But it wasn’t his responsibility to either. The guy could go get it himself.
Take the broken trust we mentioned earlier. If the trust is going to be regained, nobody but us can do the legwork. Nobody else can do it for us.
So, remember, whatever you have lost, it’s right where you left it. Is it worth going back there to get it?