Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Story of the Humble Knife

By Albert Kang
Chef Chong is well-known in Singapore as one of the leading chefs in Cantonese cuisines. To help him maintain his impeccable reputation is a whole array of cooking equipments. His kitchen is filled with fascinating machinery that will make most homemakers drool. Chef Chong shares all these equipments with his eight helpers. The only tools that he does not share are his knives. He has a set of seven very sharp knives that nobody is allowed to touch, except him.

One day, one of the old knives, having been sharpened till it is a shadow of its former glory, broke. Chef Chong is sad that he has to replace it with a new knife. He calls his supplier who promptly sends him another knife of the same make and type.

Chef Chong is very pleased with his new knife. Its weight is just nice; it balances well in his skilled hands and by looking at the color, he knows that the steel is forged in the correct tensile strength. With great expectation, he places his new knife on the sharpening stone and begins to work on the blade. After one hour of hard work, he expects the blade to be sharp. To his disappointment, the blade remains blunt. In frustration, he put down the new knife and sighs, "What is wrong with you?"

The new knife replies, "Master, there is nothing wrong with me. I just want to be humble. You see, I am not like all your other knives that are proud and boastful. I am a humble knife!"

Recovering from his shock, Chef Chong cannot believe what he is hearing. In disgust, he says, "What is the use of being humble when you remain blunt?"

The humble knife replies, "You see, my Master, I do not want to part-take of your glory. If I were to be like all the other pompous knives, then all the glory that you deserve will be given to us, knives. Imagine, if you were to be able to cut or carve out all the meats with a blunt knife, then everybody will be praising you for your great skill."

Chef Chong protests, "My great skill is in sharpening good knives and then in using them in whatever ways I like!"

The humble knife quickly retorts, "But then I will get the glory. No, my Master! I shall remain blunt so that you can get all the glory!"

The chef is too upset to even speak. He continues to work on the blade for another hour. Putting his thumb to blade, he throws the knife down in anger, "You are unwilling to be sharpened".

The irritated knife replies, "No, I must be humble and remain blunt!"

In frustration, Chef Chong almost tears out the few strands of hair that he has on his balding head. The humble knife refuses to become sharp no matter what its master does. Finally, the only option for the miserable chef is to put this humble knife aside. He buys another knife, sharpens it and adds that into his collection. Now, he is happy because his reputation and business continue to grow because of his skills in using his seven sharp knives.

The humble knife thinks to itself, "One day, my Master will use me because I am the humblest of all his knives. There it sits on the shelf, day after day, month after month, year after year. Then one day, it looks at itself and finds its lovely blunt blade has lost its shine. A coat of rust soon covers it.

One Chinese New Year, during spring cleaning, one of the helpers unceremoniously tosses the humble but rusty knife into the garbage bin. As the lid covers the garbage bin, there is a deep darkness surrounding the humble knife. It is puzzled and still wondering, "Why didn't the chef use me?"

The humble knife has never served one day in the kitchen of the master chef. It dies unfulfilled.

This is the same with many people. They refuse to use their talents and gifts for God. How many potential singers and worship leaders die unfulfilled? How many potential pastors and preachers go to their graves without gracing the pulpits? How many very gifted people because of false humility are not being used by God in His kingdom? 

What are your talents and skills that God has given you? Are you maximizing them for the glory of God?

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