An Empty Place

 

By Thom Mollohan

Whether we’re a “no show” at the sports bar, or we can’t make it home for a holiday gathering, or worst of all, we stand up a girl for a date, people will let us know when we’re missed. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of our presence, but when we are absent, we’re often missed more than we know.

Jesus went missing once. In Luke 2:41-49 we find the account of Mary and Joseph returning home from their annual visit to Jerusalem for the Passover. They thought that Jesus was with their traveling companions. They went a whole day before realizing that He was not with them. Three days more went by before they found him at the temple, where he had been the whole time. Can you imagine the panic His family must have felt during those three days? I bet those were sleepless nights too. Obviously, Jesus was missed.

Families are like that. They are endowed with a sense of interconnectedness and responsibility for one another which leaves the rest of the family feeling incomplete when any of the members are missing. As we grow into adults, the connectedness and need for one another does not cease. It becomes more abstract as miles or circumstances separate us and prevent physical closeness. Of course, selfish attitudes, bitterness, and an unforgiving heart can destroy the fragile fabric that binds us to one another; nonetheless, we are wired in such a way that we feel pain when a loved one is missing.

This is true of the family of God as well. If we have been brought into a relationship with God by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ, then we are like the sheep of which Jesus spoke in Luke 15:3-7. We are brought not only into a fold, but also into a family in which we each hold a unique place. We are priceless to Him. He has saved us and placed us in His family for a specific purpose. When we are not in daily fellowship with Jesus, there is an empty place, so to speak, in Jesus’ heart, and we become like the sheep that strayed from the fold—the one Jesus left the 99 others to pursue. The absence of our fellowship wounds Him. Not only that, but there is a vacuum created in the family of God as well.

The Father has created us to be dependent upon each other. Correspondingly, He has gifted us so that we complement one another as we walk, individually and corporately, through life. If we give up attending a Bible-teaching, Spirit-lead church, then we forfeit the blessings of support that God gives to His children through His church. In fact, the best revelations of God at work in our lives happen in the context of His family. This interaction from God is meant to be a blessing to all His children and not just for individual believers. Demonstrations of God at work in the world are vital to those who are lost around us. Our obedience to Christ through fellowship with each other gives testimony to the fact that we do indeed belong to Him. Our love for one another is the best means we have to validate the truth of what we share in the gospel of Christ.

“As I have loved you,” said Jesus, “so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 14:34b-35). The fruitful sharing of the gospel is intimately tied to our relating to each other as family. When we share the heart of Christ, we desire to proclaim the gospel to the world around us, so that the hope we have in the Son of God can be the experience of those who do not yet know Him. If we truly long to see any more lost sheep come into the fold, then we will desire the fellowship and unity of His people.

Paul described well this aspect of our dependence in a letter to the Corinthians: “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many… God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be… God has combined the members of the body… so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 18, 24b, 25-27).

If we have been missing the fellowship of our church family, we should know that our gifts given to build up the His family have also been missed. Why not consider returning soon to enjoy the blessing of His family, and so He may love others through you? He is eager to help us heal any pain created by our absence from His body of believers.

 <p style=”text-align:left;”><a title=”Add to Facebook” href=”http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=http://genmoycm.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/an-empty-place/” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/gs4019.png” alt=”Add to Facebook” /></a><a title=”Add to Digg” href=”http://digg.com/submit?phase=2&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fgenmoycm.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F10%2F02%2Fan-empty-place%2F&amp;title=An%20Empty%20Place” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/gs4029.png” alt=”Add to Digg” /></a><a title=”Add to Del.icio.us” href=”http://del.icio.us/post?url=http%3A%2F%2Fgenmoycm.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F10%2F02%2Fan-empty-place%2F&amp;title=An%20Empty%20Place” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/gs4039.png” alt=”Add to Del.icio.us” /></a><a title=”Add to Stumbleupon” href=”http://www.stumbleupon.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fgenmoycm.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F10%2F02%2Fan-empty-place%2F&amp;title=An%20Empty%20Place” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/gs4049.png” alt=”Add to Stumbleupon” /></a><a title=”Add to Reddit” href=”http://reddit.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fgenmoycm.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F10%2F02%2Fan-empty-place%2F&amp;title=An%20Empty%20Place” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/gs4059.png” alt=”Add to Reddit” /></a><a title=”Add to Blinklist” href=”http://www.blinklist.com/index.php?Action=Blink/addblink.php&amp;Description=&amp;Url=http%3A%2F%2Fgenmoycm.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F10%2F02%2Fan-empty-place%2F&amp;Title=An%20Empty%20Place” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/gs4069.png” alt=”Add to Blinklist” /></a><a title=”Add to Twitter” href=”http://twitter.com/home/?status=An%20Empty%20Place+%40+http%3A%2F%2Fgenmoycm.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F10%2F02%2Fan-empty-place%2F” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/gs4079.png” alt=”Add to Twitter” /></a><a title=”Add to Technorati” href=”http://www.technorati.com/faves?add=http://genmoycm.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/an-empty-place/” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/gs4089.png” alt=”Add to Technorati” /></a><a title=”Add to Yahoo Buzz” href=”http://buzz.yahoo.com/buzz?targetUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fgenmoycm.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F10%2F02%2Fan-empty-place%2F&amp;headline=An%20Empty%20Place” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/gs4099.png” alt=”Add to Yahoo Buzz” /></a><a title=”Add to Newsvine” href=”http://www.newsvine.com/_wine/save?u=http%3A%2F%2Fgenmoycm.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F10%2F02%2Fan-empty-place%2F&amp;h=An%20Empty%20Place” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”><img style=”border:0;margin:0;padding:0;” src=”http://getsocialserver.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/gs4109.png” alt=”Add to Newsvine” /></a></p>

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s