The definition for “Anvil” in my 1828 Webster’s Dictionary is: “An iron block with a smooth face, on which smiths hammer and shape their work. Figuratively, anything on which blows are laid.”
One day, I was thinking about and studying on how swords and other ancient battle weapons were made, and I had this realization about an anvil. The only way a sword gets made is if the anvil is strong enough to handle the blow.
To understand an anvil, and the purpose behind it, we have to have a basic understanding of inertia. Inertia simply defined is: “the resistance of an object to change its motion.” A physical anvil has to have enough inertia (enough resistance of motion) to transfer the force of being hit by a hammer back into whatever the hammer is attempting to shape.
This is synonymous with leadership. One of the hardest tests that a leader must pass is a test of the anvil.
When I am working with others, I am often in a position to see their flaws. I can be exposed to what does or doesn’t work about the way someone is, and the decision I have to make in that situation is: “am I going to be the anvil?” Am I going to be the type of person that another person can hammer their leadership out on and not allow myself to be broken and wounded?
In ancient times, before steel, anvils were often discarded because the more they were hit by the hammer, the more they became deformed. The thing that was supposed to fasten raw metal into a weapon allowed itself to become shaped into something unusable.
That’s how we can be in our leadership sometimes, we can allow blows that were meant to shape other people to make us unusable because of our offense.
Did you know that the lowest possible ratio at which a hammer and anvil can work together is 50:1? Meaning that if you have a 4 pound hammer, in order to shape metal you must use a 200 pound anvil. However, a blacksmith will tell you; the larger the anvil, the easier the work. It is not uncommon to see blacksmiths working with 500 pound anvils.
If I am another person’s anvil, I must be the type of person who can have the “inertia of spirit” to not be wounded by something that has more than a 100:1 ratio to who I am supposed to be.
The question I have to answer for myself is: “am I an anvil that other people can be shaped on?”
Sometimes, the hammer isn’t meant for you, it’s meant for the weapon that is being shaped on you. God wants to use you in people’s lives to fashion something great. Am I going to allow myself to be hit by another person without being wounded so that God can use his hammer to shape their destiny? Or am I going to be the type of person who can’t be used to shape others because I allow what is supposed to shape them to wound me?