July 6, 2003

Volume 13 - Number 28     

Where do We Place the Lord?

“And Jonathon caused David to swear again because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul. Then said Jonathon to David, tomorrow is the new moon and thou shall be missed, because thy seat will be empty.” (I Samuel 20:17-18)

A beautiful friendship existed between Jonathon and David. They are sometimes spoken of as the Damon and Pythias of the Old Testament. When the time came that David was forced to flee from Saul, and David and Jonathon were about to be separated, there is a note of love and pathos in the words of Jonathon, "Tomorrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty." Yes, tomorrow would be the day when the families offered their sacrifices and had a feast together (Num. 10:10; Col 2:16), but Jonathon knew that David would not be sitting at the king's table on the morrow. There would be one vacant seat and Jonathon as a trusted friend assures David that he will be missed.


Someone has said, "The empty pew has an eloquent tongue. Though its message is unpleasant, it is one that all may hear." The empty seat of David spoke of his flight from the wrath of Saul and there was a legitimate reason for his absence. What is the reason for the empty pews of today? My brother, is there a valid reason for that vacant pew in the assembly of the saints? Remember the Holy Spirit informs us that, "Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them" (Acts 20:7), and then exhorts us not to forsake "the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Heb. 10:25). There was a vacant pew at the church building last Lord's Day, when God's children met for worship and Bible Study. Was it yours? Those who forsake the assembly of the saints will be missed, because their seats will be empty.


No preacher of the gospel can transmit sacred truths to empty seats, but sometimes the empty pews can speak to the preacher, and he understands the message too. Often the preacher looks out over an auditorium where he preached the word of God with fervor, in days that are past, and his eyes fill with tears as he searches for the faces that are gone. Then an empty pew seems to say, "Uncle Tom Green used to sit here while he sang the joyful songs of Zion and with many a hearty amen he gave his sanction to the truth of God. Remember how his eyes used to light up with enthusiasm when he heard the old-time gospel preached to dying men. Say preacher, don't you remember how he loved to talk about the work of the church, and the words of encouragement he spoke when you were tired and discouraged? Well, Uncle Tom has been gone several years now but among the children of God he is still missed as they look upon an empty pew." Yes, the preacher remembers best of all as his eyes search for the faces that are no more, and hears the message from their empty pews. This is not the saddest message uttered by these deserted seats though, because most of these saints have slipped away to be with God.

Sometimes the empty pews say, "Those who once sat here were conquered by the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches. They have departed, having loved this present evil world more than they ever loved God or the church." The preacher listens with attentive ears, sees the tide of worldliness sweep many away, and his heart is sad.

To the preacher, the empty pew says, "Preacher, your sermons are dull and uninteresting, and your most fervent efforts to preach the gospel to this congregation are not appreciated."

To the visitor, it whispers, "Many of the members of this congregation did not think enough of this service to attend, why should you? Since most of the members did not think enough of you to come and bid you welcome, why should you return?"

To the prospective member, it says, "Why should you become a member of a congregation of absentees who do not feel interested enough to attend their own services and work at the job?"

Finally the vacant pew proclaims to all the other members of the congregation, "Why don't you go visiting next Sunday morning, or else sit by the radio next Sunday evening and take it easy, because you have just as much right to stay home or go visiting as all these other church members?"


There is one argument no preacher can answer and that is an auditorium made waste and void with empty seats! Any preacher could muster just as much fervor and enthusiasm preaching to a "rick" of cord-wood as to a row of empty benches. Someone has well said, "The empty pew speaks again of the service. It kills inspiration and smothers hope. It dulls the fine edge of zeal. The empty pew is a weight, the occupied pew is a wing."

J.A. McNutt


  1. I should come because I love the Lord, John 14:15.
  2. I should come to obey my Lord, Heb. 10:25.
  3. I should come because I need the church and the God given environment which it provides for me and my family.
  4. I should come because the Lord's vineyard is the place where God's servants should work, Col. 3:17; Mt. 21:28
  5. I should come because I should endeavor to set the right example before my children and before my friends, I Tim. 4:14.
  6. I should come because only a religious parasite would accept and enjoy all the benefits of a church going community, and then fail to attend and support the church.
  7. I should come because I want to be a member of the church which Christ is coming one day to claim as His own, Eph. 5:25,27.

The campaign group arrives home on the 15th.

Men cannot for long live hopefully unless they are embarked upon some great unifying enterprise—one for which they may pledge their lives, their fortunes and their honor.

Delbert Leavens
Delbert Leavens

Mark Your Calendars:

  • June 20-July 8: Ghana Campaign 2003
  • June 29: Song Service
  • July 6: Fellowship Meal
  • July 20-26: Central Florida Bible Camp.
  • July 27: Song Service

“A good way to judge a person is not by what others say about him, but by what he says about others.”





Remember in Prayer


 Wayne Vowell


Fred Baker
Merlian Marshall
Walt Thompson
Iva Turner
Barbara Gibbs
Art Stapleton
Bill Sherman
Boyd Previtt



 Delbert Leavens


Morning Services


Bible Reading:

 Carl Rigney  


 Larry Jenson  


 Delbert Leavens


Closing Prayer:

 Clarence Riggenbach


Evening Services


Opening Prayer:

 Jim Treece



 Larry Jenson



 Delbert Leavens  

Closing Prayer:

 Jim Dougan

Our Record - Last Week


Kerry Keathley
Dick Navarre - Sean Keathley
David Riser
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