One of the funniest things to observe as a manager is an employee who has convinced him or herself that they are indispensable. Now they may not have realized that they have positioned themselves that way. Or they may not even know how to spell it. But, it is obvious that they believe that they are absolutely necessary to the ongoing operation of the business. But, as the old saying goes “if you want to know how important you are, stick your finger in a bucket of water and see what kind of lasting impression you make on the bucket.”
Now don’t get me wrong, every employee is an important part of every team, but the vision of the whole is bigger than the individual. You are only indispensable if after you die the thing you were engaged with folds it’s tent and closes shop. In the case of business, if that happens, then you didn’t do a very good job establishing a culture bigger than you that included a succession plan. There is too much riding on you not being indispensable.
Webster’s defines indispensable as “absolutely necessary or essential”. And finding the area(s) where you are absolutely necessary is essential to your overall well-being as a human. But, where is that? Where are you indispensable?
I was reading some in Philippians this week and ran across the passage in Chapter 1 where Paul is debating between his desire to go and be with the Lord and his role in strengthening the church. Though he longed to be in the presence of the Lord, he realized that his season with the burgeoning church was not done. Listen as he debates in his heart:
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. Philippians 1:21-26
As I thought about what Paul was saying I began to ponder (which is not uncommon for me) about my own indispensability. If I were to die today, what area of my life would be most impacted by my demise? My job might miss me but they would fill my function within 24 hours. My friends might miss me, might even come to my funeral and shed a few tears as they recount how wonderful I was. The things I volunteer for will have forgotten me in 6 months as they might have a thought, “I wonder where that guy who used to hang around here is, oh yeah he’s dead”.
The only group that I think would be devastated would be my family (not necessarily my extended family because they have built a life that includes me in the orbit but not in the core). Which is kind of sad if you think about it, but we will save that topic for another post. But my core family, who lives with me day to day, would miss me. Now like every family who has lost a loved one they would move on after the initial grieving cycle. But, I think they would miss me and long to see me again. (At least I hope so!). I think that is one reason heaven is going to be a cool place, because we are reunited with those we truly loved. In this area of my life I feel fully vested. I really love my family (my extended family included). I feel necessary. I understand what Paul is talking about when he says I would rather move on to be with the Lord but it is necessary for now that I stay.
I think my point is this: we need to be involved in things that we are absolutely necessary for. We need to be giving ourselves away in such a way that we are indispensable. But, we need to make sure the things we are trying to be essential in are IMPORTANT! Who do you love? What cause would you die for? What is really, really, really valuable to you? Find these things, invest time and energy and when you pass on you will be glad you gave yourself to indispensable things. Where are you indispensable? Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Where is your heart? Find that place(s) and you will take your life to a whole new level. An indispensable level!