Masters exist for every discipline and knife sharpening is no exception. The master knife sharpener carefully chooses the right stone for each knife. A stone with course grit is selected when the blade has extensive damage and requires removal of a lot of material. When the blade is in good condition, and the edge just needs to be refined a fine grit stone is selected.
Knowing how to sharpen a knife, takes deliberate practice. The task is intentional and repetitive. It isn't glamorous and sexy, but it is critical to the success of a butcher, chef or knight in shining armor.
Preparing the tools of the trade is integral, and the time invested pays great dividends during the chef's mealtime rush. Before the next shift, another round of sharpening occurs because knives don't stay sharp with use.
The friends we have chosen, or that magically show up in our lives, can help to refine our dull edges and make us useful.
As a young man, I had a lot of rough edges and required friends with course grit to remove the major dings. I would like to think I have arrived at the day when only a polishing stone is needed to sharpen additional elements of my character to a useful edge. However, dings still exist, just in different categories.
Our friends are incredible examples of imperfect people that achieve amazing results. Resist the temptation for jealous comparison and rejoice that such talent surrounds us. After all, you are on their list for incredible talent.
I am inspired to grow as a follower of Christ, husband, father, son, businessman, athlete, employee, artist, writer, and inspiration because of my friends. Their examples of love, compassion, generosity, hospitality, kindness, diligence, intellectual prowess, grit, courage, forgiveness, and many other traits, remind me that my edge is not perfectly sharp.
The process of becoming and staying sharp requires intentional time on the stone.
Going Further: What are three friends have inspired you to grow in a particular area of your life? How were these friends helpful? Were these areas that required a course or fine grit stone to get you sharp? What areas do you currently need help from a friend? What prevents you from embracing this help? Are you surrounded by friends that will inspire you to grow?