Why It’s Always Important to Have an Empty Chair Available

Because It’s a Good Way to Prevent Loneliness

It’s been said that the church is like a football huddle. Church likes to stay in the huddle, we like the safety, we like to look good in our uniforms, we don’t like to get dirty. Football is not the huddle though, if you never break the huddle, if you never run the plays, you can never win the game.

Too often as a church, what we bring to the world is judgement rather than service, love, and the message of Christ.

We get a good example of what the church is supposed to be like in Act 2:42-47. The apostles of Christ would meet regularly and share their gifts and talent with each other. They would fellowship together, invite others and grow.

According to the Surgeon General we are currently experiencing an epidemic of loneliness. Isn’t this an understatement?

This trend has been happening for a while and was amped up with the separation that many people experienced during COVID. In this morning’s Briefing, Dr. Albert Mohler shared the importance of community and how and why it’s deteriorating.

Dr. Mohler shares many of the factors that have led to this crisis of loneliness. Christians need to understand this is predictable. What we’re looking at here is something that the government can’t solve.

As Christians we should be heartbroken about this problem.

Loneliness tells us about the human cost of disconnectedness from other human beings.

We have been made to be a part of a community. As Christians, we should be committed to seek the welfare of other human beings. We should care about people. The Surgeon General’s report should have the nation saying, “Oh, that’s not a good thing, that there’s so much loneliness.”

Christians should look at this and recognize this is a matter of concern. We would understand that as God made us as relational creatures, we cannot be healthy without some level of sustainable relationships.

Scripture tells us that man was not meant to live alone.

We know that social media and the internet have only amped up this separation and loneliness. It’s much easier to be disrespectful and say hurtful things to people when you aren’t looking them in the face.

As the church we should be opening our doors and arms to those who are lonely.

God invites everyone to the party.

Daniel Gill, a teacher in Montclair, New Jersey, shared a story of the importance of inviting everyone to the party during a lesson for Martin Luther King Dr. Day.

At 9 years old, he and his friend Archie went to a birthday party. The mother of the birthday boy opened the door and said, “I could go in, but that Archie couldn’t because there were no more chairs.” Gill said, no problem, I’ll sit on the floor. And she said to me, no, I didn’t understand. There are no more chairs,”

It was the 1950’s, and Archie was black.

Stunned, they left the party.

That’s why in his classroom Gill always keeps an empty chair, as a reminder that anyone who comes to his class filled with anticipation and eager to learn is welcome and invited to the party.

We need community and connection and that’s why we should always have an empty chair in our churches, our businesses, our homes, and our lives.

Everyone should be invited to God’s party.

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