23/08/2023 by Rev, Doug Walker 0 Comments
As seen in the HEARTbeat and Village Voice
This is an old phrase which refers to the most vulnerable or unreliable part of a system, whether a person in a group or an item in a structure. It highlights the idea that the overall strength or effectiveness of something is determined wholly by its weakest part. But is this always true?
Imagine a chain with the end link corroded and bent. You examine the remainder of the chain and find it intact and “healthy.” Do you still have a serviceable chain or not? Of course you do. You would just not use the very end of the chain where the weak link is located. Eventually the weak link can be removed, but why. Wouldn’t you still have the same length of serviceable chain as you did with the link still attached?
In group dynamics, a good group leader will establish a wide variety of people to serve to accomplish the stated mission of a group. One of the first tasks is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each person. Then the leader will assign tasks which play off of the strengths of each member BUT will also assign tasks to develop those weaknesses inherent in any group. If the leader can mitigate the weaknesses through pairing or through task management, the team becomes stronger on the whole as well as individually. Group dynamics is one of the most difficult aspects of leadership.
Do you think the group of twelve Jesus called as His closest confidants were top performers in their fields? The majority of them were fishermen, while two of these were business owners in the fishing business. One was a zealot, which is to say he was part of political party openly opposed to Roman rule (a politician). One was a tax collector for the Romans, even though he was Jewish. This made him an outcast among the Jewish community. The others’ trades are not known. What we do know is one of these became a thief. Which strengths and which weaknesses do you see in this group that Jesus could use, could develop, could mitigate?
Jesus’ leadership style has been one of examination by many scholars, leaders, and business individuals. He placed three men at the core, Simon Peter, James, and John. These three knew each other before being called. Simon Peter was very outspoken and had to be reigned in by Jesus multiple times. These three, however, formed the core of the group. Jesus developed each of the rest using their strengths while moving the weakest link to the edge – Judas Iscariot. He never removed him as a link but waited until he removed himself. Jesus knew how this link would damage the chain, but not once did He treat him any different than any of the others.
As we encounter individuals in our daily walk, remember Jesus never threw anyone away. He gave them a chance to become stronger and serve as a viable link. The Holy Spirit is a wonderful trainer, counselor, ‘link’ developer! Rely on His wisdom and always treat everyone with the same dignity and respect Jesus did, even toward Judas!