Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Everyone is Replaceable

But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” (Numbers 20:12 NIV)

Everyone is replaceable.

A lot of times we believe that no one else can fill a role except the one who is currently filling it.  Maybe we think that of ourselves or some valuable team member.  It sounds something like this, “If I don’t do it, no one else can” or “I have nobody to take so-and-so’s place” or “If he/she steps down, it’s all going to fall apart.”  It’s very motivating to hear this kind of talk because it adds merit to the individual and value to the work they do.  It sounds so good.

But it simply isn’t true.

The Hebrews probably thought that there was no one except Moses who could lead them into the Promised Land.  After all, he was the one who led them out of Egyptian slavery and shepherded them for forty years in the wilderness.  Heck, Moses himself may have even believed no one else could do it.  But it was not to be.  When Moses dishonored God before the people, the responsibility was handed over to someone else.  Moses' removal was permanent too.  When he prayed asking God to reconsider, God responded by saying, "Do not speak to Me about this matter again" (Deuteronomy 1:26). 

That is a sobering truth we must all accept.  Like Moses, you and I are replaceable.  God can replace me tomorrow if He chooses to.  Nothing in God's kingdom, or at PCC, is so dependent on me or you that God's work will fail without us.

God is not hamstrung by our disobedience or so dependent on our personal talents that He is willing to allow anyone of us to continue in a ministry role if we are willfully sinning and taking His name in vain by our lifestyle.  In God’s economy, His purposes are higher than any personality.  If you won’t do what God is calling you to do, He will simply find someone else to do it.

Don’t get me wrong.  God doesn’t toss us to the wind on a whim or at the first sign of reluctance on our part.  He chases us and pursues us.  He is more patient with us than we can possibly imagine.

On the other hand, God’s purposes are greater than any single person.  His will is greater than your will.  You are part of the plan.  But you are not the plan.  You are special and valuable to God, but you are not irreplaceable either.

Whether you know it or not, there are countless people in this world who would do anything to take your place and my place.  God is constantly raising up other vessels to serve and He already has our replacements waiting in the background.  It’s His kingdom, not ours. 

In fact, our time of service eventually comes to an end for all of us anyway.  And when that day comes we must be able to recognize that our time is up and graciously step aside by passing the baton to another.

Just don’t end it prematurely by willful sin or a false sense of self importance like Moses did. 

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