The Borrowed Ax

Fifteen years ago I had the opportunity to preach at the Pastor Appreciation Service, which we held annually to honor our Pastors and Leaders. I asked the Lord to give me the words to speak, and I specifically asked the Lord to give me fresh word, one which I’d never heard before, that would encourage our Leaders. After several days in prayer, I felt the Lord speak to me out of 2 Kings, Chapter 6. It tells a story of the young prophets building a new place. As these prophets were cutting down trees, one of the young prophets lost his ax head he was swinging. He cried out to Elisha telling him his ax head was not his, but was borrowed.

As I pondered this text, the Lord began to speak to me about my own life. He said to me, “if you will be faithful with the borrowed ax, I will cause your ax to rise.” Jesus says in His word, we must first be faithful in another man’s vineyard before we can be entrusted with our own. That opportunity came for me personally fifteen years ago. I was just a young 23 year old preacher, full of zeal and vision. Everyone wants success and the shot at making it big, but what I have found to be true is when you pray for the oak tree, God gives you an acorn.

All leadership starts at the back, at ground zero, and at square one. It’s not the platform where I began my ministry, but at the back of a church, sitting in a pew, listening to another man’s vision, and serving that vision. All the while, I believe God was watching how I handled the borrowed thing. The book of Proverbs says it like this in chapter twenty verse 21, “an inheritance gained swiftly will not be blessed in the end.” As I reflect back over my life, I am still so amazed of what the Lord has done. He truly has done more than I could have ever asked, thought or imagined. It all started with the borrowed ax.

Not only has God been building a ministry over the last fifteen years of my life, but He’s also building the man all along the journey. The Bible says in Psalms 37:23, “the steps of the righteous are ordered by Him.” It is easy to want the elevator, or quick success to our dreams. However, God, in His wisdom, often uses steps to get us to our destination. He uses these “steps” along the way to build in us faith, courage, persistence, and most importantly character.

I’d like to encourage you to learn all you can at each step! Take courage in the fact that He “makes all things come together for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose,” Romans 8:28. I want to encourage you today to be faithful wherever you find yourself in your journey. Handle each day as an assignment you are doing unto the Lord.

Be faithful with the borrowed ax, and watch God cause your own ax to come to the surface.


Pastor John is the Senior Pastor at Cornerstone Christian Church in Sparks, GA. He has been in ministry for over 20 years and carries an anointing for revival and an impartation for city transformation. His heart is to see entire communities impacted with the gospel of the kingdom.

Pastor John and his wife Catherine have been married for 16 years and reside in Adel, GA. They have 3 boys Grant, John Bentley and Asher. He is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys spending time with his family.

#encouragement #leadership #servant

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