A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This saying never becomes more relevant than when you are trying to “yank” a stump four feet in diameter out of the ground with a tractor. Nothing heightens the senses more than the whine of a piece of metal flying at warp speed past your head. In this scenario, the strong links are separated from each other by the weaker link and anyone in the near vicinity is in danger.
My good friend Paul pointed out another weak link situation while cleaning up the debris left over from Hurricane Katrina. It seemed as if every limb that we were cutting was broken at a dead spot in the branch.
“Hey, Chuck! Here’s something you can use when you preach.” Just what I needed, someone else to tell me what to preach.
“What’s that? Tell me while you haul those branches to the burn pile.” Might as well get something out of the situation. I would listen to a person explain how men evolved from monkeys if I could get some work out of him.
“You notice how these limbs are busted at the rotten spot?” Yeah, so? “Look careful. They all looked perfectly healthy on the outside of the branch, but when the wind blew real hard, it showed exactly what they were made of!” He smiled like he had just discovered the secret of indomysectomology.
“That’s incredibly astute of you my dear friend.” Well, maybe I said something like that. Inwardly, I was wishing I could have had some great thought. Why does he always have the most insight in these situations?
Sure, it’s true that what Paul, the great Socrates of our time, was trying to get across was that many times people look spiritually healthy on the outside. They attend Sunday School, sing loud in the choir, and can go for ten minutes straight while praying in public, but inwardly, they are far from God. It just takes the winds of trial and hardship to reveal this to the world.
I started to tell him that Jesus had already discovered this revelation and used Matthew to reveal it to us in Matthew 23, but as I looked at him and his look of accomplishment, I knew that the best thing to do was let him bask in his moment of wisdom. Also, all the limbs hadn’t been cut up and hauled to the burn pile.