Elisha was only too happy to accompany the school of young would-be prophets on their outing to chop
down trees to build a new facility. Each one was the son of a prophet, and this was a “like father - like son”
kind of thing. They were after all, growing in numbers, and being around the youthful men who were hungry
to know the Lord was a welcome departure from Elisha’s oftentimes wearying routine. Being good boys, they
had thoughtfully asked him to tag along, and he would see to it that he gave them all
the encouragement he could.
To the forest they went, and each student was to be responsible for chopping his own tree. All said and
done, this was presumed to translate into enough logs, once split and hewn, to complete the project. Ah, the
energy of youth. With great gusto did they go at it, and one guy in his zealousness watched as his ax head
went flying through the friendly skies over everyone’s heads into the
Jordan River. Plop.
Bye bye ax head. It was borrowed. The party’s over. Ever had something like this go wrong when you’re
trying to be a good Christian and are sincerely doing the Lord’s work?
Back to Elisha. No problem said the #1 prophet. He didn’t get to that distinguished position of honor from
nothing. He knew very well that the young man was disillusioned, probably unable to repay whomever he
had borrowed the ax from. And too, the youth was now out of the running to be able to serve God with his
age-appropriate brawn, much less having the satisfaction of a good day’s competitive work alongside his
buddies. For sure he was embarrassed.
Thinking quickly and what would appear strangely, Elisha, not wanting to be without his own contribution for
the day, cut off a stick. A what? Well, you know, he wasn’t exactly a woodsman. He was supposed to be
known for his brains and spirituality, not his muscles. He took his glorified twig and tossed it into the river
which had quite a current running through it, aiming it just about to where they believed the ax head had
landed. To the water’s surface the ax head came in a flash.
Bubble, gurgle. Very cool.
The young guy could now rejoin the others in their labor for the Lord. We’ve all sunk more than once. God
will raise us to the surface to get on with serving Him. That is,
as long as that’s our motivation.
II Kings 6:1-7