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Summary: God wants us to have hearts that are concerned about others, especially fellow believers. We see three principles that help us do so.

Getting Your Axe Together

(2 Kings 6:1-7)

1. A saw mill advertises for a timber worker. A skinny little bloke shows up at the camp the next day carrying an axe. The head timber worker takes one look at the puny bloke and tells him to get lost.

"Give me a chance to show you what I can do," says the little guy.

"Okay, see that giant redwood over there?" says the foreman. "Take your axe and cut it down."

The little bloke heads for the tree and in five minutes he's knocking on the foreman's door. "I cut the tree down," says the bloke.

The foreman can't believe his eyes and says,"Where did you learn to chop down trees like that?"

"In the Great Australian Forest," says the little fella.

"You mean the Great Australian Desert," says the foreman.

"Sure! That's what they call it now!" source: http://www.jokebuddha.com

2. Today, we have an account that centers around similar themes: an axe and cutting down trees. And Elisha works a miracle involving an axe.

3. Elisha’s miracle and the events surrounding it demonstrate God’s concern for our problems and the importance of being in fellowship with one another as we struggle through life’s problems together.

Main Idea: God wants us to have hearts that are concerned about others, especially fellow believers. We see three principles that help us do so.

I. The Way to Develop Disciples is By PARTICIPATION (1-3).

?Jewish translation of “sons of the prophets” is often “disciples of the prophets.”

? “Moving to the Jordan River is a big deal. In the previous story, the Syrian general Naaman was healed from leprosy by immersing himself in the Jordan River. Before Elijah is taken up to heaven in a whirlwind, him and Elisha travel from Gilgal to the Jordan River (II Kings 2:1-6). After Elijah goes up to heaven, Elisha splits the waters of the Jordan River (2:14) and then travels to Jerico until he finally ends up in Gilgal (4:38), effectively retracing Elijah's steps on his final journey.” [hermeneutics.stackexchange.com]

?Someone has called this chapter the first example of a college campus in the Bible.

A. CONNECTED people are influential people.

1. We are created as social beings. We will not be happy in isolation. The social parts of our brain usually becomes activated 2 days after birth.

2. We are to grow in the Lord partly through social experiences. The church is not the convergence of believers who merely sit side by side, but believers interacting with God and one another.

3. How social and connected we are varies. Both connected. Elijah needed more time alone; Elisha, like Jesus, is among the disciples and more social.

4. All need the social, but some of us more than others. Marylu and I are glad when we can stay home an evening; Jane Soblotne — who wants to be home?

B. A common HUMANITY is more effective than a lofty distance.

1. We may prefer controlled environments, but God sometimes does not.

2. Elisha is right there with the disciples in this effort; they needed him.

3. Some spiritual lessons are best learned during more secular pursuits.

4. Illustration: You teach your children about patience when you drive; prayers along the way are more effective sometimes than a scheduled time of prayer.

C. INFRASTRUCTURE is part of ministry.

1. It is true that the early church had no buildings, but still infrastructure.

2. Feed people, system to care for widows, handling offerings, arrange places

3. Deacons and deaconesses and folks who can help are a special need.

4. This group pitched in; everyone felled a tree for these dormitories.

God wants us to have hearts that are concerned about others, especially fellow believers.

II. Our Minor Problems Could Be a MAJOR Problem to Someone Else (4-5)

Lots of things happen in life that are very upsetting. Some may seem amusing to outsiders, but not so funny when it is us:

“Today, my 4 year old son thought it was funny to put money in the shredder. He stuck over 500 dollars in it.”

A. Compare this man’s problem to the WIDOW (4:1-7)

B. The value of an AXE is not like it is for us.

• a financial issue,

• an integrity issue

• a relational issue.

C. Elisha knew of the problem; many of ours are CONFIDENTIAL.

1. Vasicek’s law: People always do what they do for a reason.

2. People are often hurting, and are not at liberty to share that they are hurting, or why they are hurting. Respect their privacy, but believe that they are hurting as much as they say unless you know them to be liars.

3. We tend to minimize the problems of others while maximizing our own.

God wants us to have hearts that are concerned about others, especially fellow believers.

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