One day, a man went to visit a church, He got there early, parked his car and got out. Another car pulled up near the driver got out and said, " I always park there! You took my place!"
The visitor went inside for Sunday School, found an empty seat and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated, "That's my seat! You took my place!" The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing. After Sunday School, the visitor went into the sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, " That's where I always sit! You took my place!"
The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still He said nothing.
Later as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood up, and his appearance began to change.
Horrible scars became visible on his hands and on his sandaled feet.
Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out, "What happened to you?"
The visitor replied, as his hat became a crown of thorns, and a tear fell from his eye,
"I took your place."
Have you ever thought about Who took your place? (Same guy)
During my freshman year of college, I was forced to take Psych 101. One of the few things I actually learned from that class is that human beings are very territorial, and are creatures of habit. We like our space. We like our routines. Most people do not like change. Being brought up Baptist, I could easily understand that.
Dude: “How many Baptists does it take to change a lightbulb?”
Baptist: “Change?? What do you mean, Change?”
People like their space. In the Psych class I learned that people have their own personal comfort zones. Imagine a three foot circle with the individual standing in the center of the circle. The perimeter of that circle represents their comfort zone. When speaking to someone else, they will stay outside of other people’s comfort zones and try to keep people out of theirs. Every now and then, I like to test people’s comfort zones and step just inside their “circle”. I don’t get “in their face”, I just casually step inside their circle to see if it makes them uncomfortable. Most of the time, it does, and most people will slowly try to back away or change their stance or position to re-establish their “zone”. Most folks don’t even realize that is what is going on. Just watch a group of people mixing and mingling and see how they move and interact. Sometimes it can be funny to watch.
Even though I was raised Baptist, I now am a member of a non-denominational church, for reasons you can read elsewhere in this blog. One thing I noticed, even there, is that people will still follow a general pattern. We have four services each weekend and most of the people who attend their particular service have chosen to attend that one, for whatever reason (so do I). What I have noticed is that the majority of these people will sit in the exact same seat, every time. Or, at least in the same general area. I love messing with those types of people. Sometimes, when I notice this, I try to get to church early just so I can sit in their seat and see what happens.
This is also how I met one of my very best friends. I didn’t do it on purpose (this time). I had just started attending this church and I liked to sit towards the front, about the third row, near the center (see? I do it too!). Apparently, so did someone else.
One Saturday evening (‘cause, that’s when I go, usually), I got to my seat and just before the service started, the guy behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said,
“You’re sitting in my seat”.
And, due to my sarcastic nature, I replied, "You should have gotten here sooner."
He was smiling and we hit it off rather well, right from the start.
Now, whenever we see each other at church, one of us will say to the other, “I’ll save you a seat”.
He and his wife are awesome people. We’re in the same Life Group and we serve in our church together.
But they’re not just friends, they have become family. Jesus Christ hung on a cross and paid the price for your sins and for mine. He took your place. When you accept Him as your Savior, you become a member of the family of God.
So, how will you respond the next time you find someone sitting in your seat?