Presented by: The Master's Table Web Site

Copyright 2004 / Leslie A Turvey

Are you the weakest link in your congregational chain, or are you part of a band that is not easily broken?

A fellow spotted a flatbed truck with several steel barrels on its deck. He wrote, “One might have expected this would have been the time for heavy chains,” but the barrels were held in place with wide fibre bands. His nephew, whose expertise was in trucking, said the fibre bands were much more reliable. “A chain,” he pointed out, “no matter how strong, is only as strong as the weakest link. If one goes, so goes the whole load. The fibre band, on the other hand, is made up of many weaker fibres all bound together as one, and will hardly ever give way.”

The concept is nothing new: Solomon wrote, “Two are better than one...If two lie together they have heat...and a threefold cord is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).”

Jesus Christ, in choosing his disciples, knew the concept of synergy: two bodies working together can produce more energy than the same two bodies working independently. Twelve working together could generate tremendous power.
He never had a chain of command, but told his disciples to work together in making followers throughout the nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe what Jesus had commanded his workers (Matthew 28:19-20).

It’s fortunate Jesus didn’t have a chain of command. What if Judas had been the middle link? When he betrayed Jesus the entire load of doing God’s work would have been spilled on the road. But like truckers’ fibre bands, the rest of the disciples held together so the work was carried on.

The writer stated, “How like the church! If we depend on one or two strong individuals we can be disappointed. If we all share the load and pull together as with one mind, our strength will be phenomenal!”

Betty and I spent many years in a church with a chain of command. God was the first link, Jesus was next, the pastor general (as he called himself) was third, and his ministers completed the chain. This chain tied together multi-thousands in the various congregations world wide.
Perhaps the pastor general envisioned himself as immortal, but time proved otherwise. The chain of command was broken with his death, so a substitute took his place. He, also, was not immortal, and on his death just a few weeks after taking his place next to Jesus, his son occupied the throne.
But the chain of command was so broken most of the members fell off the truck. Rather than laying where they landed however, many joined together like fibres in the truckers’ bands, to work within their own communities and do as Jesus commanded his disciples. Through them the word of truth is again being given to the world in tremendous power, as it was in the early centuries.

In the true Lord’s prayer Jesus told our father, “I don’t pray only for these men, my disciples, but for all who will have faith in me through their teaching. May they all be one [like the strands in fibre bands], so all men may have faith that you have sent me, and that you love them just as you love me (John 17:20-23 Author’s Version).”

The gentleman who inspired this Life Lines column notes something else about being part of a fibre band. He wrote, “[Jesus] knew it would be so much more enjoyable, working together in fellowship as well. What a blessed Lord!”

May God Bless you all.
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