The Empty Seat

 

Attendance taken.

Missing today.

 Check mark. √

Absent—beyond the check mark:

My day off, so I slept in.

Other things were scheduled.

Just didn’t feel like coming today.

I won’t be missed anyway.

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24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.       (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Your presence is an important encouragement to my growth in the Lord as my presence should be to yours. When we are absent from one another on the Lord’s Day, it involves more than empty seats.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship,  to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42) 

The fellowship of our church family is less with your absence or my absence. When we commune together during the passing of the bread and cup, a seat—mine or yours– is skipped over. Our family is missing an important member.

11 So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Together, we are strengthened and unified in the faith. We help each other strive to attain maturity in the Lord.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16)

To “admonish” is to advise, counsel, urge, take to task. I need you and you need me “to teach and admonish one another” in the Lord.

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ . . .15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. (I Corinthians 12:12, 15-20)

The Lord misses you, and He misses me when we are absent. The body is not whole with the empty seat. He is there. His seat is never empty. For where two or three gather in My name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20)

Let us be present with each other in the Presence of the Lord. You matter. I matter. 

Christ gave His life for you and for me.

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 03/04/18)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

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ONE IN THE LORD

One in Christ

 

But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (I Corinthians 12:24-25)

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I fell and now have several metatarsal fractures in my foot. It just involves three toes, but the pain affects my whole foot, so I begin limping. This, in turn, puts more pressure on my other leg, which affects my hip and back. Limping isn’t buffering the foot enough, so I start using crutches, putting more stress on my hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders. This also affects my neck, ultimately leading to headaches. My energy is drained from the extra effort needed to move around. All this from just three little toes . . .

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We are unable to physically separate parts of ourselves from the form that God so wondrously and marvelously created and, still, have a whole, working body. If a part is removed or is not as functional, the other parts will have to assume more responsibility. This, in turn, will affect their purpose and functionality.

Paul used the analogy of the physical body when talking about the inter-relationship and inter-dependence of members in the body- the church: 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” (I Corinthians 12:13-21)

 “No man is an island, Entire of itself . . .” 1

 What we must say to each other are the words:  “I do need you! You do need me!”  We each have God-given talents, gifts, interests, and purposes. I cannot say yours are less or greater than mine, and you cannot say mine are less or greater than yours. God has said we are all important and necessary to the functionality of the body –His church.  We are greater with each other—and less without each other.  There is a stress on the body when parts are not working with other parts:  25 . . . .  so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (I Corinthians 12:25-26)

Made to co-exist in one body, His church, we are dependent on each other for strength, support, hope, and growth. As individual parts, we cannot thrive; our faith is weakened, our hope diminished. Together with God, we are a stronghold against Satan. “The gates of hell shall not prevail” against this body, Christ’s church (Matthew 16:18).

In our current times, when Christianity and Christians are facing persecution and challenges to faith, we must function together as one body in Christ to be that strong fortress which will prevail and endure for His purpose.

1John Donne. www.poemhunter.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/16/16) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word