The Sharpener

When I was a small boy a man with a large grinding wheel came down our street.  The wheel was on a wheelbarrow kind of pushcart with a treadle.  His voice was loud and clear as he called out for us to bring him our dull knives. My mother hurried from the kitchen with two knives and a dime.  It was wonderful to watch as sparks sprayed over his leather apron.  I had never seen anything like this before and long after he had gone I thought how wonderful it would be to have such a job. I imagined the joy of honing knives to a keen edge as I made fireworks for the neighborhood children.
In a way I used to imagine being a preacher was a similar task.  One could thunder in a pulpit producing light to hone the spiritual lives of the saints.  I probably started off that way.  But as the years passed by I learned to value the still small voice that moved across a congregation honing in a non-thunderous way.  I learned the quieter the congregation the more they were listening.  One does little pondering while making noise.
Perhaps the best moments producing the keenest edge to our spiritual intellect come not from gatherings of the masses but those one on one encounters with Jesus.  I have come to appreciate the words to the hymn, “I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses and the voice I hear falling on my ear the Son of God discloses.  And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own.  And the joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known.”