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The Axe

Some years ago a young man approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job. “That depends,” replied the foreman. “Let’s see you fell this tree.”

The young man stepped forward and skillfully felled a great tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, “Start Monday!”

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by, and Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, “You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today.”

Startled, he replied, “I thought you paid on Friday.”

“Normally we do,” answered the foreman, “but we’re letting you go today because you’ve fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you’ve dropped from first place on Monday to last on Wednesday.”

“But I’m a hard worker,” the young man objected. “I arrive first, leave last, and even have worked through my coffee breaks!”

The foreman, sensing the boy’s integrity, thought for a minute and then asked, “Have you been sharpening your ax?” The young man replied, “I’ve been working too hard to take the time.”

Liberating Ministry From The Success Syndrome, K. Hughes, Tyndale