It would be easier without them around. Those guys who can’t play as well. Those parents who don’t get it. Seriously, if we could just ask them to stay home, leading or being part of the team would be so much easier.

There are ways to get rid of them. Obviously, they can simply be cut from the team. They can be ignored or berated until they quit. They can be intimidated into submission.

But what if they are there so we can learn something about ourselves and about our God?

Proverbs 30:14 is an intriguing verse: “There is a kind of man whose teeth are like swords, and his jaw teeth like knives, to devour the afflicted from the earth, and the needy from among men.”

Labeled here is the kind of person who simply wants the poor—or the less talented or the annoying—gone. So he operates in such a way as to “devour” them, to get rid of them.

At first, we might say, well, that makes sense. Who wants a team with guys who aren’t that great or whose parents are a thorn in the side? Clearly, there are times when dismissal from the team is warranted.

But sometimes, perhaps we are too quick to provide an exit and too slow to slow to provide grace.

I believe one of the true tests of a leader is what he does with people he can’t do anything with. I’ve faced and failed this test many times, quickly wishing I just didn’t have to deal with that guy or those parents. But what if God wants to teach us, grow us, and remind of of something by placing those people around us?

What if God wants to teach us that everyone is valuable?

What if God wants to grow us by making life a little uncomfortable?

What if God wants to remind us that, to him, we are those who can’t play (see: sin) and annoy him (see: little faith)?

I’m not saying that we should enjoy having those people around or that there’s never a time for their dismissal, but only that perhaps God has them there for a reason.

Thankfully, God sent Jesus for those people, you and me, not dismissing us, but extending grace amidst our sins and failures.

Lord Jesus, remind me of your grace and make me a conduit of it to the people around me. Amen.