While I was standing in line the other day waiting to order my lunch, I heard an employee encouraging people to use one of the empty self-service kiosks. I looked over, and saw some customers who had just arrived take up the offer. It then dawned on me that they were now ‘ahead’ of me, even though I was there first! So I felt a little foolish as I continued to wait to place my order with the woman behind the counter. As I did, I began to wonder what it must like for her, literally standing next to a machine that replicates the core functionality of her job. Does she find this discouraging? Or perhaps she finds it scary, thinking one day soon she might lose her job to a machine?
I suppose that there are many jobs like that. If it’s not a machine, we could be replaced by another worker, or the team we work with could be eliminated—even the company that provides our job could go out of business. As someone who has experienced this first hand, I can testify that it’s no picnic. Beyond the practical realities that must be faced, including loss of income and finding another job, there is also the accompanying loss of daily purpose. In addition, we risk losing a sense of our identity, since our jobs can often define our place in this world. We might even begin to wonder, ‘Am I dispensable?’
While it’s certainly understandable why we might feel like that, the good news is that the Bible assures believers that they are actually indispensable (1 Cor 12:22)! This is amazing, and might cause you wonder how it can possibly be true? After all, even if we aren’t replaced in our jobs, we all will eventually die and hand over our responsibilities to someone else. Yet if we are part of the body of Christ through faith in Him, then we are part of something that transcends time and space. Incredibly, the Father was so committed to our ‘indispensable-ness’ that He sent His only Son as a helpless baby to eventually die on a cross on our behalf.
Why did He do that? While the full reason remains a mystery, one reason Jesus gave was that the Father seeks worshipers (John 4:23). So yes, as a worker you may be replaced. But as a worshiper, no one can replace you—as a worshiper, you are eternally indispensable. And the Bible makes it clear that worship is not confined to singing (which should be good news to those who are vocally challenged!). No, worship is part of every aspect of our lives, including our daily work (Romans 12:1-2). So next time you’re tempted to think that you are replaceable—or dispensable—remind yourself that from God’s perspective there is nothing further from the truth. And let’s also remind our fellow brothers and sisters whenever they may be tempted to do the same (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Chris Lake co-founded the Vere Institute (Oct 2014 – May 2021) to empower Christians to integrate their faith into everyday life, their “frontlines.” Chris continues to serve pastors through offering transitional coaching. You can find him on LinkedIn. The Vere Institute’s legacy lives on through our Vere Library, a republishing of many of their written works.