Before you read this, this is not a blog to ridicule the person I’m using as an example. And if you go to our church, pardon my bluntness, but I believe you are being a nibby, gossipy sinner if you try to figure out who I am talking about. The point today is to remind all of us that we each have a responsibility to act and not simply expect others to act to accommodate us.
As did many churches, we had an overflow crowd yesterday on Easter. We set chairs up. A couple of minutes before worship started, one person stopped me as I was walking by. He said, “Why are they setting up chairs? There are a few spaces for people to sit here beside me.” I tried to explain the 80% rule: Experts say if your pews are 80% full, people consider your church full because most people feel uncomfortable butted up against others. That explanation wasn’t going well. He said having the only empty seats in the place beside him made him feel uncomfortable. After some more fruitless effort talking about being a mature Christian and putting others’ feelings before our own, I got to the truth and heart of the matter.
Finally, I said if you want to have people sitting beside you, then you need to scoot over and sit next to others. That was not the answer the person wanted to hear. It’s not the answer any of us want to hear. I guarantee you that 99% of us have said at one time or another, “______ didn’t speak to me.” You know this scene. “Did you speak to them?” “No.”
The truth is, our human nature is to make things about us. We want others to be more considerate of us. We want others to go out of their way for us. Jesus said he came to serve, not be served. Jesus didn’t wait to have His feet washed in the Upper Room at the last Supper. He got up and grabbed the pitcher, bowl, and towel and started washing feet. Each of us needs to remember that as Sons and Daughters of the Living God, we do not sit on a throne waiting to be served. Jesus considers the greatest people (and true disciples) those who are willing to serve, not those who want to be served.
And as God often does, God answered the person’s request. I walked to the back of the church and there were 3 people looking for seats. I pointed them to the 3 empty seats next to the man. God fulfilled their request and gave me a great reminder that I am not to sit back and expect others to fill my needs. I am to act on behalf of Jesus to fill the needs of others and God allowed me to do that when He put the three people in front of me. And He gave me this message to give to you today.