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Honesty and Axes
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Honesty and Axes

 
There is a story that goes like this.  Once upon a time, a man was chopping down a tree by a river.  As he swung his axe, it glanced off the tree trunk and flew out of his hands into the river!  The man was unable to reclaim his axe because the river was so deep and its current very strong.  On the riverbank, he fell to his knees and cried, “Oh God, I need that axe to chop wood!  Please bring it back.”
 
All of a sudden a heavenly angel appeared hovering over the river!  The angel reached down into the waters and pulled up an axe made of pure gold!  The angel asked, “Is this your axe?”  The man was amazed but shook his head no.  The angel reached down into the water again and pulled up another axe made of pure silver!  He asked the man, “Is this your axe?”  The man shook his head again, “No sir, my axe is just wood and iron.”  The angel dropped the two axes back into the river, and then reached in a third time bringing up the man’s lost axe.
 
The man was grateful and he praised God for sending His angel to recover his axe.  Later, he told the story in church, testifying how God helped him.  Hearing about the angel and how he pulled a gold and silver axe out of the river, another man in church could not believe the stupidity of passing up such fantastic treasure!  Filled with greed, he decided to chop wood at that same spot by the riverside.  Of course he started swinging around his axe recklessly and finally did manage to “accidentally” lose it in the river.
 
He stood on the bank and cried, “Oh God, I need my axe to chop wood!  Please bring it back.”  The angel instantly appeared over the river.  He reached into the water and pulled up the golden axe!  Before he was even asked by the angel, the greedy man exclaimed, “Yes! My axe!  That is my axe!”  But the angel dropped the golden axe back into the river sadly shaking his head.  The angel answered him, “You are a liar.”  He disappeared now leaving the greedy man with no axe at all!
 
What about us?  Do we ever try to play games with God?  Do we even try knowing full well He can read our heart and motives?
 
“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.  All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent.  And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.”
— 1 Chronicles 29:17 NIV
Updated: Sep 19, 2011