Friday, November 7, 2008

#15 The Weakest Link

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." Ephesians

When I was in high school I had very few classes that I actually enjoyed.
Before getting to high school I loved school. I am not sure what happened
exactly, but I came to the point that I loathed the thought of going to
class and listening to some teacher ramble on and on. Now I am a pastor and
people have to listen to me ramble; turnabout is fair play I suppose J.
Anyway, the class that I loved was drafting. We learned to draw machine
parts, houses, and all sorts of really neat things. I was much better at
mechanical drafting than the architectural side.

I ended up taking drafting all three years of high school-where Ginger and I grew up 9th grade was junior high-and I even took a self study course for computer-aided design that was really a lot of fun. One of the projects that we had to complete
in my third year drafting class was to build a bridge out of 1/8th inch
square X 12" long balsa wood. We were all given the same amount of pieces
and the only thing we could use with it was glue. The goal was to build a
bridge using a design that we came up with and then we would bring them all
to the class and test them for strength. I cannot remember what the prize
was but the designer of the strongest bridge won something that seemed
really cool at that point in my life.

The testing was quite crude in that we simply supported each of the bridges
and suspended weights from the bottom of them. Weights were then added
until the bridge collapsed. I was really proud of my design and I had
worked really hard to ensure that everything was as it should be. When the
weights were hung on my bridge I was very confident. I even joked with some
of my classmates that I would share the prize with them when I won it.
There had been some others who had gone ahead of me and their bridges tore
apart with about 20 pounds or so on them. One guy actually made it to about
32 or 33. Then it came my turn. I made it past 20, 30, then 40, and I was
really starting to get the big head. 45 came and went with no problems
until the 48th pound was added. When that 48th pound was added my little
bridge went crashing down. "Oh well," I thought, "I am still the leader."
Then my buddy put his on the platform. Weights were added to his all up the
scale just like mine, but then his went past 48 pounds and my heart sank. I
knew I had been beat. Not only did his hold 50 pounds, it did not break
until it had over 70 pounds on it. Not only did he win, he sat a new record
for the entire school.

My heart was broken, but that sorrow turned to anger when I investigated my bridge remains. As I looked at where my structure had failed I made a discovery that made me angry at myself. I discovered that one of my vertical support posts had not been glued. I had notched it out and placed it where it was supposed to go, but I had forgot to glue the joint. There was no glue residue anywhere on that one joint and that was exactly where my bridge failed. I kicked myself for that for a few weeks,
but it taught me a valuable lesson about how one weak link can cause the
entire structure to fail.

As You consider your spiritual life this evening or whenever you may read
this, I wonder if there are weak links within your spiritual life. Are
there areas in your life that are going to cause you to come apart and crash
under the weight of life? I wish I could answer that for each of you, but I
if could I wonder how many of you who will read this would want me to tell
you? It is not always the most comfortable of scenarios to have someone
expose our weaknesses. Trust me, I have been on the receiving end of the
exposing. But as I look back on my life I am so thankful for those people
who had the courage to expose my weak links. I have prayed over and over
again that the Lord would give me a teachable spirit when I have an area
that I need to change. Some of you have even heard me say that, "I am not
smart, but I'm teachable." It is one of my favorite sayings and it is one
that I live by. I have no desire to be smart if it blinds me to the danger
areas of my life that make we weak in the Lord. I would much rather be
teachable and willing to listen when the Lord speaks to my heart. It is my
prayer just now that each of you will be willing to let the Lord show you
your weak links so that you can surrender them to Him and allow Him to apply
that heavenly glue that will hold you together in the storms of life.

Dear Father God,
We thank You once again for giving us the Sabbath that we can come apart
from the care of this world and simply live our lives for You. Lord, as we
think about weak areas in our life, I pray that You would send Your Holy
Spirit to convict our hearts of the areas that need to be addressed. There
are things that each of us have in our lives that we need to let go of and I
pray that You would pour out a measure of grace that would wash open our
eyes that we may see our defects on character. We need You so badly Lord
Jesus, and we need You Holy Spirit. May we not live another day without
surrendering everything to You. By Your grace Lord, may we not break when
the weight of life is added to us. In Christ's name we pray, Amen.

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