Embracing Your Place as Replaceable

I remember hearing this motivating and inspirational message about being obedient.

The speaker raised an interesting question while retelling the story of Saul / Paul’s conversion in the book of acts.He commended Ananias for his obedience. He was the guy whom God called to minister to Saul (a huge enemy of Jesus followers at the time).

“But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Then Ananias went…” (Acts 9.15-17, NLT)

It’s an amazing story really. Saul is healed, converted, baptized and gets a name change in a matter of moments.

I’ve never seen or been a part of a ministry moment that cool.

Then the speaker posed this question: What would have happened if Ananias said no to God? Paul is too scary a guy and I just can’t go.

It seems like a reasonable response too. Saul was public enemy number one according to Jesus people.

The speaker made the case that Saul’s conversion wouldn’t have happened and we wouldn’t have all the New Testament writings if Ananias was disobedient.

That’s where I struggle. That’s an awfully large leap.

Although it’s a great thought and it’s motivating I just can’t buy it.

God’s purposes are always achieved. His will always gets accomplished.

Claiming God’s will would be thwarted by a single man’s decision seems overly simplistic.

God is not dependent on humanity.

Jesus claimed that stones would shout praise if people remained quiet.

God spoke through an ass… literally. (Numbers 20.21-40)

This leads to one of my life slogans:

If he can speak through an ass he can speak through me.

But I digress… Here’s what I’m trying to say:

Way too many pastors and leaders consider themselves as irreplaceable.

It seems like so many leaders few their staff and volunteers as interchangeable parts while they themselves are the only ones for whom there is NO REPLACEMENT.

(Buzzer sound)

Wrong. Incorrect. Not true.

Nobody is irreplaceable.

God loves you and values you but remember this verse:

“What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears.” (James 4.14, CEV)

So many leaders consider their followers and volunteers ‘the mist’ and themselves as the mainstay.

To quote a friend, “That’s dumb!”

Everyone is replaceable.

Knowing, understanding and embracing my place as replaceable is important to keeping perspective and balance in life and in leadership.

Embracing my place as replaceable doesn’t cause me to look over my shoulder with paranoia. Instead I look up and I feel grateful for the opportunity.

Jesus understood his role. He knew even he, the divine son of God, was replaceable.

Not only that, but Jesus also said it was BETTER that he go and be replaced.

“So let me say it again, this truth: It’s better for you that I leave. If I don’t leave, the Friend won’t come. But if I go, I’ll send him to you.” (John 16.7, The Message)

Come on leaders. If Jesus is replaceable than so are your 55 minute “can’t miss” messages on how to have a Song of Solomon marriage.

Again, “That’s dumb.”

We’re all replaceable. We’re only here for a short time. We do are part then move on.

Thinking of yourself as irreplaceable leads to arrogance and self-centered leadership. It also qualifies you to be a long-standing member of congress.

That’s not the Jesus way. The Jesus way is humble and does what the father asks for an appointed time.

I wonder what churches would look like if pastors could only lead as long as Jesus did ministry?

Whoa.

I feel like I’ve just asked a dangerous question.

Feel free to comment on this post.

Are you irreplaceable?

What helps you maintain perspective in your leadership role?

Let’s embrace our place as replaceable.

4 thoughts on “Embracing Your Place as Replaceable

  1. Excellent. Love this. And it’s a difficult pill to swallow.
    It’s as hard as those conversations between spouses: “If I die early – here’s what I want you to do… get married again.”

    Especially in the lead role, we tend not to ever go there. Everyone else on the team is “replaceable” but NOT ME. Haha! I feel like there needs to be a lead pastor training where we all confess together, “I am replaceable. I will not always be the pastor of this church. Someone will take my place and probably do a better job than I did. Thank you Jesus for this brief chance to lead. Help me to not totally screw it up. And help me enjoy it while it’s here – because it won’t last forever.”

  2. Great read, thanks Andy. It’s bittersweet when we realize that God will accomplish His plans whether or not we choose to do what we are called to do.

    I’ll join your club.

    • Thanks for reading and posting a comment. I’m trying to be thankful for every bit of influence God allows me to have. He’s got better options, but he chooses me anyway.

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