Empty Pews

March 30, 2014
by Julie Bowles

Isaiah 45:18 – For the Lord is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. "I am the Lord," he says, "and there is no other." (NLT)

I am blessed to attend two different churches; I attend one with my family on one Sunday and another on the next Sunday in my job as a direct support professional for adults with developmental disabilities. The two buildings are totally different, as one is in the city, and the other is a small country church — yet both are seeking a relationship with Jesus.

On one particular Sunday on my job in the country church, we chose to leave our coats in the sanctuary while we went to join everyone in fellowship and have lunch together in the church hall. After a time of eating, talking, and fellowship, it was time for us to leave. As we walked back into the sanctuary to get our coats and return home, I noticed that in the time we had been in fellowship, the sanctuary had become cold. The pews and choir platform were empty, except for the Bibles, hymn books, and bulletins that lay on the benches that we had recently been sitting in.

As I reflected on this later in the day, I focussed on the fact that the people do make the church. The accepting and loving way that the people of this church receive the people that we support is evident from the moment we arrive until we leave after lunch.

Yes, we do need a building, and it does need to be warm, but we also desperately need spiritual warmth not only within the building but also beyond the building and the end of the service. The building will soon go cold after we have left, but we have the ability to take this warmth with us and out to the community. I truly believe that the people that we support also carry this warmth with them into the community; whether it be in the grocery store or at a doctor's appointment, they are spreading the love of Jesus into the world beginning from the love and acceptance that is given to them each Sunday that we attend. The empty pews, Bibles, and bulletins were simply a reminder of the faithful saints each Sunday.

Psalm 36:5 – Your unfailing love, O Lord, is vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. (NLT)

Look around! Can you see someone who is in need of some love? Is there an empty pew beside you that needs to be filled? Act now; don't delay, for there will come a day when Jesus will return for His saints. It is His desire that all will come to know Him.

Prayer: Dear Lord, we do not know the exact day of Your return. We have read Your Word, and we know that we must reach out to all. Help us this day to reach out to those who have yet to feel Your love, and to fill those empty pews. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Julie Bowles <julieanni@rogers.com>
Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you Julie.


    A wonderful reminder Julie. Thanks for the challenge.


    Thanks for your words of encouragement and hope.. and for your gifts of sharing in both church communities.


    Thanks Julie for your devotional. It spoke to me and challenged me.
    May God continue to bless you as you worship Him in both churches and live for Him.


    Good afternoon Julie:
    As always, a message with a challenge included. Thank you for your many fine messages, messages that make us aware of the importance of attending church sharing our love and the love of our Saviour, who first loved us and gave his beautiful young life for us. Your words, “look around! Can you see someone who is in need of some love? Is there an empty pew beside you that needs to be filled? Act now; don’t delay, for there will come a day when Jesus will return for his saints. It is his desire that all will come to know him” make us a so aware of the fact the second coming is close at hand and we indeed will be held accountable for our witness and faithfulness to his word and the sharing of his beautiful story.
    You always leave us with much to think about.
    Thank you.

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