The Word: We can all be replaced oh so easily

Published 12:55 pm Friday, January 26, 2024

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Nicholas Lou Saban Jr. retired from coaching Jan. 10. Saban’s been a head coach for 28 years with a college record of 292 wins, 71 losses, and 1 tie. That’s better than an 80% winning record. Championships? He’s got a few: 7 National, 11 SEC, 1 MAC. 12 SEC Western Division. Awards? 2x Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards, 2x Walter Camp COTY(Coach of the Year), 2x AP College Football COTY, 2x Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, Home Depot, Sporting News, Liberty Mutual, Bobby Bowden, and 5x SEC Coach of the Year, and on and on the list could run (Thank you, Wikipedia and ESPN, for the help here). 

Love him or hate him… the man’s good. Coach Saban said, “There are two pains in life. The pain of discipline and the pain of disappointment. If you can handle the pain of discipline then you’ll never have to deal with the pain of disappointment.” He also said: “Success doesn’t come from pie-in-the-sky thinking. It’s the result of consciously doing something each day that will ad to your overall excellence.” Another thing more parents and young folks trying out athletics needs to hear and embrace is this quote from Coach Saban: “If I want to play more, then I need to work harder. Everyone is not entitled to an opportunity to play. That’s not the way of the world. You have to earn your way.” Woowee! Solid truth, huh? 

Now…Nick Saban retired on Jan. 10. A hugely successful coach. Winner of multiple awards. Loved by folks all over the country. The sound of his name the last several years brought fear, anger, and several shouts of “ROLL TIDE!”. The man is a coaching legend. Guess what…. his replacement was hired in roughly 49 hours later. It took just over 2 days for the University of Alabama to replace such a hard working, driven, dedicated, powerful, proven-to-win coach. 

I’m a preacher who’s just 3 months shy of 27 years full time ministry experience. I was a professional firefighter paramedic for almost 13 years. I’ve performed 174 weddings, 189 funerals, 191 baptisms, and devotion your reading makes 237 written for the paper…and I can be replaced oh-so-easily from this and more. What matters isn’t any award or accomplishment. What matters most is what did I leave behind? I pray my family adores me. I pray I put them before any work or other item. I pray I put God first in all things. I can be replaced at work…I can’t be replaced in the hearts of those who love me. I learned this too late in life. Make sure you don’t. 

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at jamescameronbailey@gmail. com.