I knew it was going to be a big funeral. That’s why I had planned ahead to be early. Since I was just attending this funeral and not actually doing it, I knew seating in the little country church building was going to be at a minimum. I’ve had to stand for forty-five minutes for funerals before, and I can guarantee you after about five minutes, it’s no fun.
Even though I arrived forty-five minutes early, I was amazed how close I’d cut it and barley got one of the last seats available. My seat was perfect. It was towards the back and right on the end. I couldn’t help but be proud of my planning. Here I was sitting in a premium seat in a packed building where in a few minutes people would be standing up everywhere.
As I sat there watching people file in, it wasn’t long until people stood lining the isles all the way to the back. It just so happened that God placed a woman standing just 3 feet from my seat. I tried hard to pretend I didn’t notice her there, but I really had. I kept my head down knowing that if I made eye contact with her it would only make me feel guilty for not offering her my seat.
I did really well for about two minutes until a little voice (God I presume) deep inside said, “Trey, look at you. What are you doing? Get up and give that woman your seat.”
Before I had time to even respond, a second and much different little voice said, “Trey, you’ve got to be kidding me. Don’t you even consider giving up your seat. You planned this whole thing out perfectly. You put effort into this, so you’ve got every right to keep your seat.”
The battle was on. One part of me, the good side, was saying, “Do what’s right.” While the other selfish side was saying, “It’s your seat, keep it.” I sat there a little longer wrestling over what I should do. I knew I should give up my seat, but I’d invested so much time and energy into getting my seat.
The good voice said, “Trey, you’re a preacher, set an example by giving up your seat.” Immediately the bad voice said, “Dude, you got here early. Come on, I know you’ve heard the old saying, ‘The early bird gets the worm?’ and how about, ‘You snooze you lose?’ This is a high quality seat. You can’t give this up. Besides you know those stinking preachers, if you stand up this preacher’s going to feel like he’s got to talk for a stinking hour!!!”
Back and forth the war raged on. What do I do? I finally looked up at the woman standing next to me. As we made eye contact, I felt deep down God prodding me. I took a deep breath and smiled as sincere a smile as I possibly could. “Excuse me ma’am,” I said, “Would you please take my seat.”
She motioned to me to lean in close so she could whisper something to me, “Thank you, but I actually have a bad back, I’m much more comfortable just standing!”
(Philippians 2:3-4 “Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves…”)