|Volume 25 Number 5 May 2023
Louis Rushmore, Editor
The latter part of 1 Samuel 20:18 reads, “…you will be missed, because your seat will be empty.” King Saul’s son Jonathan said that to and about David. Those words, though, bring to mind questions and things to ponder beyond the context of Jonathan’s words.
First, like David, will we be missed because our seat at the table will be empty after we die? Are we the right kind of husband or wife, father or mother and friend that family and friends will miss us when we are gone? Or, do we make no difference in the lives of our families and associates? Maybe, on the other hand, we make the wrong kind of impact on the lives of those around us. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged” (Colossians 3:18-21 NKJV). Will you be missed because your seat will be empty?
Secondly, will we be missed among other servants of our Lord Jesus Christ? While no one is irreplaceable, the absence of a devoted child of God engaged in many good works will leave a void in the ranks among the soldiers of Christ. After your passing, will fellow soldiers need to close the ranks, or will there be no noticeable deficiency amongst fellow laborers harnessed for the cause of Christ? “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works” (Titus 3:8). Dorcas was such a Christian servant, “…full of good works and charitable deeds which she did” (Acts 9:36). “…All the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them” (Acts 9:39). Will you be missed because your seat will be empty?
Thirdly, will we be missed from the batch of employees with whom we earn a living? What a shame it would be were we to die that no one even noticed at the jobsite because we weren’t really making a valuable contribution! “Bondservants [in our time, think ‘employees’], obey in all things your masters [think ‘employers’] according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:22-24). Will you be missed because your seat will be empty?
Under whatever biblically permissible consideration, establish your seat at the table. “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17). Will you be missed because your seat will be empty?
Before my seat at the table becomes empty, there are a few things to which I desire to attend. I want to make sure that I’ve more than adequately expressed my love to family members while there remains time and breath in me to do so. There are endeavors stateside and abroad that I hope to accomplish before I die (e.g., books to write, articles to publish, magazines to edit, mission trips), but I remember the words of my late and beloved wife Bonnie the last day she was able to think and to express herself prior to her premature death. “But I’m not done yet!” Alas, I’m left with the personal question, “Will I be missed because my seat is empty?”