One day, two loggers found employment at a wood mill. The manager devised a competitive event to test their skills. Both men would be given a full day to fell as many trees as possible. They would be paid for each tree they leveled.

Ed and Bill quickly set out to work. Ed worked at an even pace, taking breaks every so often. Bill decided from the start he would work tirelessly, until his muscles were sore and aching.

At day’s end, Ed had felled more trees than Bill. Bill was furious. He asked Ed, “How is it possible that I worked myself to the bone—I’m sore and calloused—and you cut down more trees than me?”

Ed looked at Bill’s calloused hands and said, “Did you notice I was sharpening my axe during my breaks?”

Ed accomplished more than Bill because he worked smarter, not harder. The Christian life operates under the same principle. We can embark in service by resting in Christ, and allowing His Spirit to guide us. Or we can work ourselves into frenzy by considering everything we want to accomplish for Christ without devoting time for the Holy Spirit to operate. We neglect prayer and Bible study—and lose the enabling power of the Spirit.

Do you feel like the work of Christ cannot continue without you? In a sense, you’re right. If you don’t get involved, the work will not get done. But God needs you to allow Him to do His work through you. Stay spiritually sharp by taking time to rest in Christ. Your blade—and your work performance—will never grow dull.

Don’t let Satan make you overwork and then put you out of action for a long time. — Charles Simeon

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.