by David Sisler

I remember telling a friend, a number of years ago, and saying it rather proudly, in fact, "I am the most important person in my wife's life." And then, for a time, I forgot how very important she is to me.

Looking back on it, I wish that right about then, Bonnie had written a poem to me, similar to one received by a man in Texas. His wife wrote:

"Sometimes when you're feeling important, sometimes when your ego's in bloom, sometimes when you take it for granted, you're the best qualified man in the room.

"Sometimes when you feel that your going, would leave an unfillable hole, just follow these simple instructions, and see how it humbles your soul.

"Take a bucket and fill it with water, put your hand in it up to the wrist, pull it out and the hole that remains, is the measure of how much you'll be missed."

There is something about each of us that makes us believe that we are indispensable. The truth is usually very different. When Federal employees, who gave their word, their oath, that they would not strike, went on strike, President Ronald Reagan had two choices--let the Air Traffic Controllers Union run the United States of America, or fire them and keep the Federal government in control of its own house.

The air traffic controllers thought they were indispensable. When they violated a direct court order and the President fired them, they found out they were not indispensable.

Evidently the legal defense team in our nation's most notorious murder trial believes that Judge Lance Ito is indispensable to their cause. When revelations of a possible conflict of interest, involving the testimony of a witness and the judge's wife surfaced, O. J. Simpson's lawyers asked Judge Ito not to disqualify himself.

I remember talking to a pastor who was getting his monthly report ready for his denominational officials. He said, "I haven't had anyone saved this month. They won't like that." He paused and said, "There was one man who raised his hand. I don't know whether he ever made a commitment or not, but maybe I could count him."

A good report, even if it was suspect, was indispensable to that man.

One day Jesus was trying to recruit some men to become disciples and one man volunteered. "Lord," he said, "I'll follow you wherever you go."

Jesus said, "The foxes have their own dens, birds have their own nests, but I do not have a place to call my own. I want you to understand what it will be like to follow me. Do you still want to come?"

The clear indication of Scripture is that the man never followed Jesus.

Jesus then turned to another man and said, "Follow me."

The man replied, "My father has not yet died. Let me wait until he passes away and fulfill my familial obligations."

What the man was really saying was, "I'm indispensable."

Jesus replied, "Let the dead bury the dead."

The clear indication of Scripture is that the man never followed Jesus.

Jesus invited a third man to follow Him and he replied, "Lord, I will follow you, but first I need to say goodbye to my friends."

What the man was really saying was, "I'm indispensable."

Jesus said, "Once you start out for the Kingdom of God, don't ever turn back. If you do you disqualify yourself for admission to the Kingdom."

The clear indication of Scripture is that the man never followed Jesus.

Jesus never filed a phony report. To three men who were ready to volunteer, he said, "If you wish, if that is the desire of your heart, if you understand that my way is the way of the Cross, then, and only then, follow me. And keep on following me."

At one time or another, everyone of us thinks we are indispensable. We let our egos run wild and we overestimate our own value to others. Like the three men Jesus tried to recruit, we even overestimate our value to ourselves.

We frequently underestimate His value, we frequently live as though He were very much dispensable, but Jesus never underestimates us. Jesus always treats us as indispensable. That is why He went to the Cross and died.


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 10/28/95

Copyright 1995 by David Sisler

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