Mike VanDerLinden - Timber Ridge Christian

I had the opportunity recently to look closely at the underside of the pews in our church.

I know what you’re thinking. What on earth was I doing under the pews in my church? We were installing racks designed to hold the new Bibles we recently purchased.

As I said, this gave me a chance to look at the underside of each pew. No, I did not find any gum. But, I did see that the front pews looked less used. Somehow, they looked cleaner with less wear and tear on them, even from underneath.

Of course, it is common knowledge that hardly anyone ever sits in the front pews. So, as I laid on the floor, I began to wonder why. Why is it that people seldom sit up front?

Some reasons are obvious. No one wants to have to walk to the front after the service has started. Nor do they want to get up in the middle of service and leave from the front row.

In the end, I think most people feel like the front is too close to the action. It’s like being in the front somehow puts you in danger.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter where you sit in church. Each seat in church is dangerously close to the action. Every seat has the possibility of being just as close to God as any other seat. That’s where the sense of danger comes from, right?

Everyone that knows God knows that when you are close to God, you may be called on to do something dangerous.

For example, God will often show you your sin, and you will need to repent. You will be called on to share your faith and to minister to those around you. Every calling to minister comes with some danger.

Nearness to God is not about how close to the front you sit, but how close to God you allow your heart to be. So, where you sit is not important at all. You don’t even have to worry about the danger either. When your heart is close to God, although danger may be close by, you are entirely safe in the hands of One Who loves you.

When Elijah came against the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18, he built an altar and prepared to worship. When the time came, he stepped up close to the place of sacrifice and called on God to answer him so that all the people would know that the Lord is God Almighty.

Then the fire of the Lord fell on the altar and consumed the offering and more. It may have appeared that Elijah was in great danger as he drew close to the altar. But there was no safer place for Elijah to be.

I would encourage you to come to worship, ready to be close to the action. Being close to the action doesn’t mean that you will have to sit in the front pew. But, you must allow your heart to draw near to God.

After all, this is the safest place for you to be. 

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