The Weakest Link

          When I was growing up on the farm, I remember several times when dad or I would get a tractor stuck in snow and ice or rain and mud.  We would grab a heavy chain and another tractor to pull the disabled machine.  I’ll never forget the first time that a chain broke while trying to pull a tractor.  The chain snapped and whipped back, fortunately missing both of us.  But dad taught me that no matter how strong a chain looks, it is only as strong as the weakest link.

          The unbreakable strength of the first few links means nothing if the 4th link has a hairline crack.  The integrity of the whole chain is only as good as the weakest link.  That can be said for most organisms or organizations. 

          Similarly, in a symphony there are a variety of instruments such as tubas, trumpets, trombones, French horns, clarinets, flutes, violins, bass, drums.  And while the drums and brass instruments have the ability to overwhelm the rest of the concert, when they restrain in order to hear the subtle sounds of the flutes and strings, they nurture beautiful harmony.

          In 1 Corinthians, we read about the Body of Christ...one body made up of many members.  What amazing creations God has made.  Heart rhythm matches energy output.  Digestion turns food into fuel for every cell in the body.  Brain signals control organs without our control. Eyes automatically adjust to light and dark.   

We know the importance of taking care of the heart.  In comparison, the little toe seems fairly useless.  However, did you know that the little toe is a major factor in balance while walking?  While the little toe may not be a life or death loss, it does perform an important function.  And just stub that little appendage once...it will let you know it’s there!

I think you probably recognize where I’m going with this message.  The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth about the importance of every person in the Body of Christ.  Everyone is gifted and talented in different God-given ways.  And each of those gifts and talents can bring glory to God.

While some are called to preach, others are called to teach, and others to cook, and others to clean, and others to sing, and others to build, others to communicate, others to blow snow and mow grass, and others to organize, all to bring glory to the One who created us.  How are you using your God-given gifts and talents to bring glory to Him inside or outside of the sanctuary?

          Jesus stood in front of the congregation and read from Isaiah, then announcing that he was the fulfillment of the Scriptures.  HE was the one sent to bring sight to the blind, to release those in captivity, and to preach the good news to the poor.  He proclaimed His mission from God.  And we as the Church, are Christ-followers, called to continue His mission.

          So again I ask, how has God gifted you to bring glory to Him?  What gifts do you have that can be used day in and day out to carry out Christ’s mission of compassion and justice for others?  How are you pointing to God in thankfulness for all He has done that is out of your control? 

          Like the previous analogies of the chain, the symphony, and the body, how are you helping to nurture and support each other in a way that results in harmony?  And when I say ‘each other’, I’m not just referencing within the confines of this faith community.  How are you as the Church also supporting and nurturing faith for those outside the sanctuary?

          How has God called you into his service?  In this faith community, may the drums and brass be tempered and the flutes and strings be lifted up so that the ministries of this faithful community blossom in beautiful harmony.  Amen.