No Substitute - Encouragement Café - December 29

No Substitute
By Dawn Mast

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? John 11:25-26 NIV

Now that our children are either in college or enrolled in Christian school full-time, my job as a mama has taken on a different feel. My days are no longer spent with toddlers underfoot, picking up toys, trying to rush about and get the shopping accomplished before the baby needs to nap or figuring out how to help with homeschooling lessons. All those doors have been shut and the chapters are finished.

I honestly started to feel sad, less than, lonely and maybe a little bored.

Not for long!

I took a part-time job at the Christian bookstore my parents own and I added my name to the substitute teacher list at our children’s school. That should take care of some tuition bills as well as me feeling like I’m not needed!

It didn’t take long! Just a few weeks after I started working at mom and dad’s bookstore, the school called and asked me to be a substitute teacher. In English one week and math (my least favorite subject!) the next.

Although I love being with the students, I could tell right away that I wasn’t in my element. The school was familiar, the staff knew me and the kids were very, very sweet. But I wasn’t the regular teacher.

I was a stand in. The temporary one. A substitute.

There was really no one who could take the place of their teacher and answer the questions they had about assignments, tests and other things except the one who was in charge of the classroom. And that definitely was not me!

I’ve seen people try to substitute other things for Jesus. Food. Money. Jobs. Other people. It just doesn’t work. There is no substitute, no stand-in, nothing other than the Real One will do.

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”John 14:6 NIV.He didn’t offer another way, a different option or a second choice to God. Jesus knows the way because He IS the way.

It’s also comforting that God used those same words when He speaks to Moses in Exodus 3:14, “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’. He says, “I AM.” Father and Son. They speak to us in the same way, telling us that there is hope, truth and life through Jesus to God the Father.

And there is definitely no substitute for God’s Hope, Truth or Life in Jesus.

Whenever we feel tempted to substitute something for the Lord, it’s helpful to take a moment and look around.

See nature, people and your day-to-day blessings that you have that are a direct result of God’s hand. Sometimes, when we feel thankful and notice that which God has given us, we become more grateful and less likely to substitute what God has given us for other things.

Thank You, Father God for all the things You have blessed me with in this life! You are so good and faithful and I love that You can never be substituted for anything. I pray that You will keep my heart focused on You when I tend to wander with worry and want for other things. I long to grow closer to you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

© 2018 by Dawn Mast.  All rights reserved.

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Originally published Friday, 29 December 2023.