Several years ago, we were in Spokane on a Sunday, so my husband and I visited a fairly new church. The message so inspired us that we brought it home to our small group to share. The message still stays with me today. I don’t remember what the name of the church was or even who the speaker was. I just remember the message. It explains so much about our country, our churches, and our homes.
The speaker had three empty chairs on stage. He asked us if we were first, second, or third chair people. He went on to explain…
Moses was the man God chose to lead the nation of Israel from the slavery of Egypt to the freedom of the Promised Land. While Moses took the spotlight, Joshua was his right-hand man. He was always nearby when Moses had an encounter with God. Joshua wasn’t satisfied with watching Moses have first-hand encounters with God. He wanted those FIRST-CHAIR encounters for himself.
When Moses died, Joshua received the role of leading Israel into the Promised Land. The nation was mostly successful during Joshua’s life-time. He was close to God. People recognized it and willingly followed his leadership.
However, the leaders under Joshua did not actively seek that FIRST-CHAIR relationship with God. Instead, they were content living in a SECOND-CHAIR relationship. They could see God move through Joshua, but they didn’t have the glow of enthusiasm that came from a FIRST-CHAIR relationship. As a result, the generation that came after them had no knowledge of God. They had a THIRD-CHAIR relationship with God. They might have known His name, but they really didn’t know much about Him.
This FIRST-CHAIR, SECOND-CHAIR, THIRD-CHAIR progression happens today in our churches, our country, and our families. It starts with a FIRST-CHAIRrelationship…a personal one-on-one encounter with the Creator of the universe. God’s love and power changes that person. They share that relationship with others, some of whom will develop their own FIRST-CHAIR relationship with God.
Others will adopt only the framework of the story and become SECOND-CHAIR “Christians” without realizing that they are missing something. The second-hand stories clean up their morals and living habits. These SECOND-CHAIRpeople even attend church. It’s a culture that is comfortable for them. They might have grown up in church, all the time thinking that they have the “real deal”, but in reality, they haven’t let a relationship with Jesus really change who they are.
If no FIRST-CHAIR relationships intervene, then the next generation sees no power in the SECOND-CHAIR people. There is a good moral structure, but the relationship foundation is missing. Slowly, the moral structure falls apart. All that is left is a THIRD-CHAIR person who sees a church building and thinks, “Hmmm. I wonder what they do in there.” At this stage, they begin to see God as irrelevant unless another FIRST-CHAIR person intervenes with the power of God.
Which chair is yours?
Have you had a real, living encounter with Jesus? Has He drastically changed your life with His love and truth? Do you hear Him speak to you through His Word? Do you see Him working in your life? You just might be in a FIRST-CHAIR relationship with Him.
Have you heard all the stories of God’s love and power? Have you adopted a good moral compass? Are you a good citizen? Do you ever wonder if God really hears your prayers? Do you sometimes wonder what all the fuss is about? I encourage you to seek Him with all your heart. Don’t be satisfied with SECOND-CHAIR stories. Jesus wants you to truly KNOW Him. He didn’t die for you so that you could just know ABOUT Him. He wants you to encounter Him personally.
Have you heard of God and Christianity, but you have no idea what it’s all about? Jesus is more than a religion. Jesus loves you. He died to make a way for you to find Him. If you want to know more, please contact any of the ACWM bloggers or leadership. We would be honored to begin a conversation with you about the loving Creator.