Mid Week Meditation - July 26, 2018Submitted on: July 26, 2018
“thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty.” 1 Samuel 20:18b
The empty church pew has a very eloquent tongue. The empty church pew sometimes speaks loudly. The empty pew is Satan’s territory, for it speaks volumes against our service to Christ. It kills inspiration and smothers hope. It dulls the Spirit and deadens our zeal. The empty pew is a weight that all too easily “besets us”.
It is a fact that many church folk have favorite seats in the sanctuary. And that’s okay because that helps the Pastor take visual attendance. When folk sit in their favorite seats the Pastor can make a visual check to make sure we are all here and accounted for. You are missed when your seat is empty.
Beloved, your presence is necessary. Worship is a requirement. The writer of Hebrews 10:25 said we should provoke each other to good works, and he said we accomplish this by “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is”. How else can we encourage each other to serve the Lord, if we don’t connect physically?
I am always baffled by Christians who think television ministries are a suitable substitute for getting up on Sunday and going to the House of God. I am talking about the Sunday morning attendees of Bedside Baptist and Mattress Methodist. The truth is every benefit I have ever derived from the church has come through my physical presence.
I ask you, can the TV evangelist counsel you and listen to your concerns?Can the TV evangelist come to your aid when you are in need?Can the TV evangelist connect your spirit with those of your friends and neighbors? Of course, the answer is NO, however, too many folk are content to satisfy God’s worship requirement watching television. They miss the truth that physical worship is a requirement as a part of Christ’s church, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12).
Your presence is necessary because, your presence is nurturing. Have you thought much aboutthe impact your presence has on the other members in the church. There is not a member in this body of Christ who was not led here by the Spirit of God to fulfill some need for the sake of spreading the gospel in this part of God’s kingdom. Even if you are still exploring your gift or gifts, and the role you play in this body of believers, rest assured that your absence handicaps all of us.
No scripture certifies this truth better than 1 Corinthians 12:20-25. This passage referring to Christians, says, “But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”
How did Paul know about our empty pews? It wasn’t that he was being prophetic. Paul just witnessed how people were interacting with each other in the church. Everybody seemed to want to be the ‘heart’ of the body; no one it seemed wanted to be the hands and the feet. This meant, of course, the work of kingdom building was not getting done.
The truth of the matter is, every position in the church is critical to the nurturing of the body of Christ. Paul writes in Romans 12:5-8, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members, one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Paul emphasizes by listing all the ways our gifts impact this body, through preaching, ministering, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, and comforting, that each of us is an essential part in the work of the kingdom. In other words, when we don’t show up, this body has no hands and feet. When we don’t show up, this body has no eyes and ears. When we don’t show up, this body operates on less power. And when no one shows up, the power…God’s power…is turned off.
Malachi says, “Will a man rob God?” If the pew next to us is empty, the answer is YES. I remind you that we rob God, not just of our tithes and offerings, but of our time and talent. So our presence is necessary and our presence is nurturing. Our presence is also neighborly.
Our closeness with the body of Christ counts. Members of the hospitality ministry know what I mean. Whether we are greeting members at the door, or filling a plate in the fellowship hall, or encouraging a member in need, it is the small things we do for each other that demonstrate our love for Christ and His church.It’s the neighborly things we do that bind us together as one body.
When we do something for ONE, we do it for ALL, because if, “one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26).
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