All About Saws

Written by Burt Braunius /
April 15, 2014

“Saw:” a twisted and gory R-rated horror film that some may be watching on Halloween, but I will not—not ever. Instead, on Halloween I’ll be thinking about the five “solas” of the Protestant Reformation: Sola scriptura (by faith alone), Sola fide (by faith alone), Sola gratia (by grace alone), Solus Christus (by Christ alone), Soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone), along with the Ninety-Five Theses of Martin Luther.

“Saw:” a tool with thin blade and toothed edges for cutting wood and other hard materials’; also used as a musical instrument. For a rendition of “Amazing Grace” played on a saw, click here.

“Saw:” a word that is part of the phrase, “Sharpen the Saw,” and explained in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen R. Covey). Sharpen the Saw is the seventh habit, which refers to the need for leaders to continually improve themselves.

Expanding upon this final definition, Covey tells about meeting a woodsman who is attempting to cut down a tree. The woodsman is making very little progress and the saw blade is getting more and more dull. Covey asks, “Why don’t you stop to sharpen your saw?” The woodsman replies, “I can’t. I haven’t got the time.” Covey uses this illustration to remind his readers that in order to be highly effective, they need to take time to focus on self-renewal in order to increase their productivity.

The “saw” needs to be sharpened in these four areas:
Physical – diet, endurance, flexibility, strength
Spiritual – meditation, prayer, Scripture, values
Mental – reading, writing, continuing education, challenging conversations
Social – relationships, group involvement, deep friendships

For ministry leaders, renewal often comes through continuing education classes, conferences, and retreats. Church Leadership Center and Synod of the Great Lakes (RCA) sponsored a retreat this past weekend. It was attended by Commissioned Pastors, mentors, course facilitators, and other leaders.  It was an amazing “saw sharpening” experience as we discussed, talked, sang, learned, and shared our life stories, both indoors and out.

Here are a few questions to ask about your own renewal.
– Am I working on self-renewal on a daily and weekly basis?
– Do I have a personal mentor whose feedback I trust?
– Am I involved in a supportive group as a participant or leader?
– Do I have a plan for my development and renewal?

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