The Left Seat
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others as better than yourselves….Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:3, 5, NIV)
In an airplane cockpit, the left seat represents the more “important” person in the pilot crew of two. In the seating arrangement in my home church of Heartland Alliance, the person seated in the seat immediately to my left is definitely the most important person from my perspective. Now, my wife always sits on my right but on any given weekend of worship, I focus my attention on the “new” person sitting in the left seat. I say “new” because in our large and fast growing church, there is a different person sitting to my left in most worship services.
As I teach and demonstrate to participants in my “Welcoming Church “ seminars, it should be the natural — or supra-natural -- response of every Christ-like Christian to pray before and during worship for others around him or her. As the Bible says, see others through the eyes of Jesus – treating the other person as if they were more important than yourself (Philippians 2:3, 5). The result is that the other person may see a reflection of the character of Jesus Christ in you. It is an expression of God loving and deeply caring for that person through you!
Prior to worship, I pray and ask God to teach me through others and to communicate His love through me to the persons that He wants me to meet. First, I pray silently for a person or persons around me, especially for the one who will sit in the left seat. When the person arrives, I seek to be sensitive and greet the person once they arrive. Then, immediately after worship, I turn to the person and exchange extended greetings. Then, I pop the big question. This sounds like a marriage proposal and for a non-Christian it can lead to this –encouraging the person in considering a faith relationship with Jesus, the “bridegroom” of heaven!
The big question: How can I pray specifically for you this week? Most are surprised but yet gladly willing to share an important need. Some will ask how they can pray for me. One young man who had just experienced a divorce said to me “Now, I know why God wanted me to sit here” (i. e. next to you). Prepare your own heart before God and try it this week.
What a way to welcome others to your church! What a way to create a welcoming culture and attitude in all your life relationships!