Friends of my parents are returning to the mission field soon, so last week a large party was held in their honour. I made sure to stop by, and say "good bye" - plus say "hello" to scads of people I hadn't seen in ages.
A few days later, my mom was telling me a story about the couple, B&SW. My mom seemed really impacted by a few words that BW shared, and she thought it would be good for me to hear them as well.
It had to do with being "replaceable". Now, we ALL know that we're IRreplaceable ... God made each of us unique, special ... and there is no replacing parents, siblings, spouses, children & friends. That's not what the conversation was about.
Specifically speaking, it had to do with the "circle of life". How we each get taught, raised up - but then we eventually have to pass the mantle on. BW has done this with such wisdom.
My mom spoke to me directly about the position that my brother and I have been allowed to stand in, in our church. For almost 20 years, we've been involved in the music department - and we still have the privilege of leading the worship services on a monthly basis.
"But," she warned, "you won't always be "that" person."
And it's so true. I'm 35 now, and perhaps for another few years I will be a part of this fantastic ministry. When I'm no longer asked, this doesn't mean that my involvement with music and the church will be over. But maybe it will. It just means that other people, wonderful people, will continue to be raised up and essentially, "replace" me. And they, too, will be "replaced" by those being raised up beneath them.
How I handle this, is of utmost importance. I feel there is nothing much worse than when an 'older' person looks down on the next generation and criticizes how they do things simply because it's different. It causes such division and I believe there is SUCH an opportunity for bridging the gap, and for learning on BOTH sides. Being a mentor is NOT a second-rate job. It is one of high honour.
Obviously, this is not just about church involvement. It has to do with putting worth on ALL people, young and old alike. To value new ideas, and respect past ones. To know that change doesn't mean YOU did it wrong. To realized that your worth isn't WHAT you do, but in WHO you are.
So, take a moment this week and tell someone who looks up to YOU that THEY are doing a great job. Be that person that they go to, rather than the person who they feel will never gain approval from.
You never know what new opportunities are around the corner for someone who is "replaceable".