Using Plan B!

Bible Book: Exodus  4 : 10-16
Subject: Will of God; Servanthood

Once some people brought a very sick man to a physician. They said, “Now, Doctor, we've brought this sick man to you and we want you to make him well; and, Doctor, if you can't make him well, then make him better; and, Doctor, if you can't make him better, then at least don't make him worse!''

Life is like that! There are ideal goals and perfect solutions, but these are seldom reached. So, our successes or failures are often determined by our fallback positions. If we can't do what's best, then what's second best, or even third best?

In other words, what are our contingency plans? Too many religions seem to advocate either/or decisions. They insist that every action is either absolutely all wrong or absolutely all right. But life isn’t like that!

Many Scriptures tell us of situations which didn't work out, but these are almost always followed by the word nevertheless. God is never foiled! Failure is never final!

Some people think if they can't do something perfectly, they won't do it at all. That's a cop out! Things aren't that absolute! We have a responsibility to do what we can, even if it's not perfect. If we can't solve a problem perfectly, can we make it better; and if we can't make it better, can we at least avoid making it worse? That's the question.

I. We Must Consider Second Best Options

God allowed Moses to choose second best when he refused to be both the leader and the spokesman for his people. He compromised by sharing the task with his brother Aaron. “Moses said to the Lord, ‘But Lord, I am not a skilled speaker. I have never been able to speak well. And now, even after talking with you, I am not a good speaker. I speak slowly and can’t find the best words.’ Then the Lord said to him, `Who has made man's mouth? And who makes him deaf or not able to speak? . . . It is I, the Lord? Now go! I will help you speak. I will tell you what to say.’ But Moses said, ‘Please, Lord, send someone else.’ . . . (The Lord) said, ‘Your brother Aaron . . . is a skilled speaker. He is already coming to meet you . . . I will tell you what to say. Then you will tell Aaron. I will help both of you know what to say and do. And Aaron will speak to the people for you. You will tell him what God says. And he will speak for you’” (Exodus. 4:10-16, EB).

This proves that when God called Moses, and didn't get a full commitment, He still used him, but it was in a second best position!

Even in regard to religious rituals, God, made contingency plans by saying if certain commands can't be carried out, there's a second and a third alternative.' “He shall also bring his guilt offering to the Lord . . . a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat as a sin offering . . . But if he cannot afford a lamb then he shall bring to the Lord his guilt offering for that in which he has sinned, two turtle doves or two young pigeons . . . but if his means are insufficient for two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then . . . he shall bring an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering . . .'' (Lev. 5:6-11).

Of course it's good to make enormous contributions, but If you can't give ``thousands--give hundreds. If you can't give hundreds--give what you can! These promises helped to equalize the worshipers. Each did what he could!

When Jesus sent out his disciples on a mission, he told them to have a contingency plan just in case. “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town. And any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake off the dust from the soles of your feet . . .” (Mark 6:10-11).

Of course, a warm reception is desirable, but in the real world you're bound to encounter opposition. Share your faith, but when you experience rejection, overlook the slight, and go on with second best options.

Preparing for contingencies does not show lack of faith. It shows prudence and wisdom. It's significant that even David when he confronted Goliath, prepared for the worst. He chose five stones! (See I Sam. 17:39-40,48-49).

Now, David knew it would be best if the first stone hit its target; but he wasn't taking any chances! He made contingency plans. He had a fallback position.

II. Next, We Must Consider “Even So” Actions.

Paul settled for “even so” and learned to live with his thorn. “There was given me a thorn in the flesh . . . Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, `My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness' . . .” (II Cor. 12:7-9).

He wanted health. He didn't get it, but even so, he served. He had problems which were never solved. But, even, so, he became a great leader.

When John advised us about personal morality, he said, “I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. (Even so) if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (I John 2:1).

Sin hurts, but even so, life goes on. We are sinners, but even so, we can be forgiven. The Hebrews failed and fell time after time, but that word of hope is there. The Scripture says, “They forsook the Lord God of their fathers . . . and followed other gods . . . (even so) the Lord raised up judges which delivered them out of the hands of those that spoiled them'' (Judges 2:12-16, AV).

They were cast down, even so, they survived. Don't give up! Don't despair! You can be rehabilitated, no matter how low you've sunk or how many mistakes you've made.

At one point in the Old Testament, life is complicated. The picture is dark, Sin is rampant. Even so, we see God's special intervening word. The Scripture says, “The high places (of pagan worship) were not taken away; (even so) the heart of Asa was wholly devoted to the Lord all his days'' (I Kings 15:14).

This demonstrates that one man can stand alone against the multitudes. The world around you may be evil; even so, God is in you! You are responsible for yourself regardless of your surroundings or associates.

Throughout the Bible we find the minorities in almost hopeless situations. Everyone conspired against them. They were hindered and attacked on every hand. It would have been easy to give up. Yet there's that word again! Nehemiah said, “(Even so), we made our prayer to our God, and set a watch against them day and night . . .'' (Neh. 4:9, author's italics).

The odds weren’t great, but even so, they held on. They had tremendous problems; even so, they remained committed and persistent. The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way you use them.

III. Finally, We Must Consider Our “Fall-Back” Positions.

So, what are your contingency plans when complete success is impossible? What are your nevertheless decisions? History is full of heroes who succeeded “Nevertheless.”

William Wilberforce was so sick he took opium to dull the pain, nevertheless he attacked and eventually defeated the British slave trade.

Cervantes was in prison, nevertheless he wrote Don Quixote.

Winston Churchill was called dull and hopeless in school. He flunked the sixth grade, nevertheless he became one of the world's greatest statesmen.

Grandma Moses was told she was too old to start painting at 80, nevertheless she became famous.

Bill Wilson seemed to be a ``hopeless'' alcoholic, nevertheless founded Alcoholics Anonymous.

Walt Disney loved to sketch and draw but he was advised by experts that he had no talent, nevertheless he became an artistic genius.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was struck down with polio, nevertheless he became the only president of the United States to ever be elected to four terms.

Albert Einstein was labeled a retarded slow learner. He was written off as in educable, nevertheless he changed physics and science forever.

A dedicated Christian will say: “I may not be the richest person on earth, nevertheless I'll be generous with what I have. Remember the widow's mite?” Jesus said it was greatest of all! An economist says that mite invested at only 4% would be worth billions of dollars today.

A dedicated Christian will say, “I may not be the smartest person on earth, nevertheless I'll use the brains I have. In fact, most of us know a lot more than we use! The IQ isn't as important as the I will!”

A dedicated Christian will say, “I may not have a college education, nevertheless, I'll be active and creative. A BA is no substitute for a Be Persistent!”

A dedicated Christian will say, “I may not have many talents, nevertheless I'll do what I can. The one talent man wasn't condemned for having only one talent, but rather for not using that one talent.”

A dedicated Christian will say, “I may not have great physical strength, nevertheless, I'll be sure the weight of my opinions and influence are on the side of justice!”

A dedicated Christian will say, “I may have made a lot of mistakes, nevertheless, God isn't concerned with my past. He's concerned with my future.”

A dedicated Christian will say, “Things may look bad, nevertheless, the darkest night is followed by the dawn, and once dawn has started nothing can stop it.”

At best, life is hard. Each of us has problems, disabilities and handicaps. If we succeed in life, we will have to do it in spite of our obstacles. We may have to settle for second best. We may have to struggle on, even so. We may have to achieve our purposes from a fallback position. It's encouraging to know that great things have been accomplished by using “Plan B!”

Seldom do we get all we want on the first try. Seldom does everything work perfectly to create the ideal outcome. Seldom do we solve problems completely and permanently.


An artist was once at a party where a friend spilled something on her favorite scarf, leaving a permanent stain. The artist took it home for a few days. When he returned it, the stain had not been removed, but it had been included in a new design. Working with the spot, the artist had integrated it into the overall design with symmetry and beauty. Sure, the scarf was stained, but, nevertheless, it was salvaged and used.

It’s the same with us. We may be imperfect. We may have made mistakes. We may have committed sins; but we must never give up. God can and does use “Plan B’s!”