Chairs, Chains and Opportunity

For as long as I can remember, 4 chairs have sat on the stage at our church.

When I was a boy, the chairs looked like huge carved wooden thrones where serious men dressed in coats & ties sat with legs crossed as they waited for their turn at the pulpit to perform their worship duties. These chairs were an integral part of our worship experience.

Years ago, however, the wooden thrones gave way to chairs of more modern design. These chairs had padded seats & appeared much more comfortable and inviting. And as the years passed and our worship became less & less formal, fewer & fewer men took their places in the chairs.

These days, it is a rare event for anyone to use those chairs during worship. And yet there they sit, Sunday after Sunday, filling up our stage.

And while they still look good, they are much more decoration than functional equipment. We have chairs on our stage because we’ve always had chairs on our stage.

It’s not as if these chairs have a negative impact – they simply aren’t being used enough to warrant such a prominent position. The truth is, we just don’t have any better ideas of what to do with that space. We don’t have a vision for anything more, so we simply keep doing what we’ve always done.

This seems to be the way that I operate in most areas of my life. In the absence of great crisis or need, the easiest thing to do is continue to do what I’ve always done. To stay on the same path I’ve always been on. And so much of my life remains unchanged.

A lack of vision for what could be keeps me chained to what has always been.

I’m fascinated by the men who became Jesus’ apostles. James & John were in a boat fishing with their dad when Jesus invited them to follow. And “immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” (Matt 4:22). Their lives were never the same from that moment.

What amazes me is that they didn’t have to leave. They could have stayed and probably made a decent living in the family business. Yet they saw the opportunity and dove in. They had a vision for what could be and decided to act.

If I’m honest, my life if pretty good. It’s also really safe. Yet Jesus continually offers me the same opportunity as James & John. To dive deeper. To take a chance. To have some vision for what my life could be.

Maybe one day I’ll take the chairs off my stage and give God a chance to fill it up with something else. Because as long as the chairs are there, it’s difficult to have a vision for anything else.

Do you find yourself constantly doing what you’ve always done? Have you ever felt the desire to dream big? What keeps you from having that kind of vision?

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