Keep the Knives Sharp

My father was passionate about the importance of several things: studying the Bible, hard work, integrity in church leadership—and, sharp knives! Though generally even-tempered, if he was given a task that involved cutting and found that the knife was not sharp enough for his liking, he would exclaim, almost with anger, “You have to use a sharp knife!”

Father often worked in the kitchen, even as a child. Whenever a task involved cutting, it seemed that ninety percent of the time he was not satisfied with the sharpness of the blade. He would insist on sharpening the knife before starting the job. . . but not without a generous dose of complaining and reprimand.  I heard from him many times, in exasperation, “Diane, haven’t you learned that you have to keep your knives sharp?”

An important lesson for all of us.

It also makes me wonder why most of us do not approach life like that. Why do we tend to keep working without sharpening the knives?

  • One possible reason is that the dulling of a knife is a gradual process that takes place due to use and/or neglect. It is very easy to be unaware of how dull the knives are getting.
  • When a cutting edge is lost, causing our tasks to be laborious, our efforts less than effective, our impact compromised, we might choose to ignore the obvious(or what is obvious to others) and just keep struggling along.
  • Or maybe laziness. Sharpening a knife requires that we retrieve the knife sharpener from who-knows-where it was last kept (or go and buy one), then postpone the start of the job in order to engage in the sharpening process. Extra work. “Asch, I’ll do it next time,” we reason, and don’t bother to put in the effort or cost that it would take to restore the cutting edge.

Almost to the point of embarrassment, I often ask for a sharpener when using someone else’s knife. So hopefully my father taught me something! But in our kitchen, you will probably notice that knives are in the medium-to-mega dull range. Ouch.

Which knife do I need to sharpen today?

~ Diane


About Omondis In Kenya

Ibrahim and Diane Omondi serve on the DOVE Christian Fellowship International Apostolic Council, giving oversight to the region of Africa. They have been ministering together in Kenya since 1984 and now oversee the work of more than 100 congregations in four nations. They also give leadership to the missions thrust of DOVE Africa which includes 14 Kenyan and Ugandan missionaries serving among unreached people groups in these nations. The Omondis direct Springs of Africa, a non-profit organization sponsoring micro-finance, community development and various education initiatives.
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3 Responses to Keep the Knives Sharp

  1. Great advice…keepin’ my knives sharp!!

  2. Mike Jagger says:

    Thanks for sharpening me with your knife allegory! (Proverb 27:17) My tendency is to accomplish tasks by persistent effort on my own, rather than by considering the fact that I need to be routinely sharpened by contact with others.

  3. George Otieno says:

    I love to use a sharp knife. I sharpen all the knives in my household, because granted, if I don’t, no one will! So I rarely bellow at anyone if my knives are dull!
    But I will raise my voice at my kids for their unkempt rooms, especially when they don’t make their beds when they wake up! “You gotta make your bed”
    And my 10 year old daughter reasoning is this….”Why make it if I will be coming back to lay on it at night ”
    To do or not to do; sharpen the knife or make the bed😂!

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