By Field Writer Todd Davis

Nothing knocks the edge off a sharp knife like skinning a hog. Last spring, clients of mine took three hogs during an afternoon hunt. Knowing they were a perfect size to cook on a smoker, they asked if I could quarter the hogs for their trip back to Wisconsin. The hunter and his two sons were great people, so I was eager to help out. If you have never dressed out a hog, it is a chore. A hog, especially a larger boar, has a tough skin with wire like hair. They often smell terrible and can be covered with insects. Under their tough hide is a layer of fat and gristle. Old timers call this layer a “taler.” On large hogs over 150 pounds, this can be over an inch and half thick. The taler on older hogs covers their vital areas and can often prevent arrows and small caliber weapons from penetrating into vital organs.


Once I secured the first hog to the gambrel, we soon had him hoisted up to a working height. The hunter and his boys were fascinated by the process and were a big help. I have a sharp skinning knife with a gut hook that my daughter bought me some years ago. Taking it out of the sheath, everyone noticed how sharp it was. The work on the first hog went quick, and he was soon in the cooler. The second hog was much tougher. I had to stop to sharpen my knife. Once the knife was sharp, the job was much easier. They marveled at how quick a hog would dull the knife. I showed them the hog’s taler and explained how hard it was on even a sharp knife. We eventually quartered out their hogs, but we did have to stop occasionally to sharpen knives.

Taler
Hog “Taler”

Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are sometimes called to “sharpen” or rebuke each other in love. Rebuke seems like a strong word, but I think of it as telling a brother, “Hey you’re better than this, what can I do to help”? This verse also implies Christians should keep a sharp edge, but why? If you think about it, what good is a sword with a sharp edge, if it does not get used? A sword with a sharp edge that is not used is nothing more than a trophy. If God is to use Christians to pierce the darkness, then we must be receptive to those He uses to sharpen us. It may be brothers or sisters pointing out areas we should improve on. Another time God may use us to help others to be sharper or improve as Christians. When God decides we are sharp enough to pierce the darkness, he will use us to slice through the night and illuminate the world around us. Those seeking a way out of the darkness are drawn to God’s light shining through us. God then has a chance to reach those lost and wandering in the darkness. It all depends on how sharp our edge is.

How do you stay spiritually sharp? Leave a comment!

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