Ecclesiastes 10:10. If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.
We have an adage in modern America, “Work smarter, not harder.” The import of this adage is echoed by the Preacher of Ecclesiastes when he says, “If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.” The point of this proverb is quite clear, more input doesn’t always equal more output. Rather, wisdom may dictate to change the game, to alter the circumstances, such that output increases while input decreases.
Working with a blunt blade, for instance, produces less product and requires more power, which will result in more aches and pains to the body. Wisdom, however, would say, “Sharpen the blade!” While this is a trivial example, though perhaps not quite as much in the ancient world (or for woodworkers today), the principle is creatively and plainly demonstrated.
This proverb is a strong, biblical basis for innovation and creativity in all fields of life and labor. It is the practical application of the cultural mandate to subdue creation and draw out of it all the goodness of the Lord, which he has put into his world for our good. There is ample reason, therefore, for Christians to be at the front lines of things like technological advances and new legislative policies. Wise Christians are problem solvers.
For the good of man and the glory of God, therefore, be wise and sharpen your blade.