To be a great athlete it takes a coach who knows what he or she is talking about but it also takes other players to push and compete against one another to bring out the best. There’s no doubt in my mind that when new football players or basketball players join a team that it worries some of the people who are already there. They know they’ll have to compete for the various positions. If an individual doesn’t have to compete for their position more than likely they’ll never be as good as they could; it’s human nature.
This proverb is applicable to work as well. I’ve had to compete against fellow employees many times for a promotion. I like to think I’m very self-motivated but I have to admit I tried harder and I worked longer in order to get noticed. The bottom line is my co-workers made me a better employee; they sharpened me.
Based on what you’ve read so far you can see this awesome proverb truly does have broad applications but now I’m going to focus on the spiritual and most important reason the proverb was written.
There’s mutual benefit in the rubbing of two iron blades together as the edges become sharper making them more efficient in their tasks and comparably speaking the Word of God is a “double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12), and it is with this that we are to sharpen one another. This is why it is so important to have people in our lives who will sharpen us, those who will make us more effective at what we do in life personally, professionally, and spiritually. If we aren’t challenged how can we maximize our abilities?
We have a tendency to hang around like-minded people. This is good in a lot of ways because it makes life more comfortable but if we don’t have people around us who can stretch our minds a bit then we’ll remain stagnant…we’ll remain a dull blade and what use is a dull blade? Maybe the best way to look at it is we need challenging mentors/people in our lives who are more knowledgeable about the word of God if we want to be a more effective tool for God. Shouldn’t our desire to be the best we can be for our Father?
I’ll wrap up with this and that is we need to be challenged because most people just aren’t good at pushing themselves to the level of significant growth on a personal or professional level. Like I said, it’s human nature. This means we can’t be comfortable. If you feel at peace with where you are in your life that’s great but in most cases it just means you’re in the wrong place. We need to be pushed. What I find amazing is that this proverb was written over 2,000 years ago and it is still completely applicable today.