Three chairs. The chair in the middle represents our place in the family of God. This is where you and I sit. When you first came to this church, there was a chair for you. Some of you can still remember where you were sitting the first time you came, or when you got a word of encouragement that you needed so badly, or got direction when you were confused. Some of you have been sitting in the same seat for years. No lie. It feels like it's your seat. You get a little offended if somebody else sits in it. That's your seat.
Then there's the chair to the left. The chair to the left is a reminder that somebody came before me. Somebody brought me to Jesus. Somebody invited me here, into the family of God. For me, it was my parents, at my baptism when I was very young. You have a story, too. You didn’t find this all out on your own. Someone brought you to Jesus. Someone shared the good news, brought you to church, somehow/someway someone else took Jesus’ command to “Go!” seriously and brought you in by the grace of God.
Then there’s the chair on the right. This represents the people yet to come, yet to be brought in. It’s empty, there’s room. There’s always room. Who will go? You and I. To whom will we go?
Right now, pull out a picture of somebody in your life. Many of you will have pictures on your cell phone – go ahead, pull that out. Some of you might have pictures in your wallet. Does anybody remember when we used to carry pictures in our wallets? So…go ahead and just pull out a picture right now.
Maybe it's one of your kids, or maybe it's a nephew, a niece, a friend, or grandkids. I know you’re tempted right now to tell someone else how your child/grandchild/niece/nephew is cuter and smarter than theirs…but please resist that urge for now. Do it later. You’ve got a picture and that person/those people are precious to you.
Here’s the question: Do you have anyone in your life (your family, that next generation, someone from the place you work, someone from your neighborhood, Facebook friend) whose spiritual well-being you're concerned about? Do you have someone like that? Yes, you do. We all do. (By the way, you can put your phone away now…unless you’re reading this on your phone.)
Consider Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:14,15: “Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
Here are Peter and John in Acts 4:20: “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Let’s go, you and me, let’s go with the Gospel to someone who needs Jesus’ forgiveness and life with God. Keep that one person (or people) you identified earlier in your prayers and plans, look for opportunities, and trust that the Spirit will work through God’s Word.
God-enabling, let’s fill that chair on the right. Again and again and again.
God keep you in his loving care,
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand