Celebrating the Almost Empty Room

There was a time when I taught Sunday School that I would be frustrated when not many people attended my morning class. I would be encouraged when most of the seats were filled, but get discouraged when only a handful attended. That’s when I felt convicted that my heart was not in the right place.

I was reminded of Luke 15:1-10 where Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep and coin. In these parables, Jesus points out how the focus is on one lost sheep, one lost coin. The man doesn’t say, “Oh well, at least I have a pen full of sheep.” The woman doesn’t say, “Oh well, at least I have a bag full of coins.” Yet my attitude had me focusing on a room full of people.

In these two parables, the man and the woman focus on the one that is lost. They search until they find. My heart change meant I needed to focus on who was there for my Sunday School lesson not how many. With that revelation I reminded myself before each class that I would be content if only one person attended because that was who God brought to me that morning.

A few weeks after my change of heart, I had only one person attend my class. I waited until a few minutes after the start time, then looked at this person and said, “Well, I guess it’s just you and me this morning.” He looked uncomfortable, so I sat down next to him and began the lesson. A few minutes later he began to reveal what was on his heart and we ended up having a very good conversation about faith in Christ. If the room was full of people, I don’t think we would’ve had our talk.

It’s still hard for me not to focus on the numbers, but that incident that Sunday serves as a strong reminder to me about what is important to God.

© 2020 CGThelen

And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’” – Luke 15:31-32 (NASB)

23 thoughts on “Celebrating the Almost Empty Room

  1. God gives us all that we need if we only ask. The right words to say, patience and open ears to listen, the right attitude to be present with those who are present with us.

    Thank you for sharing. ♥

  2. Such a wonderful post! You are so right…we do not always know who needs to hear God’s word at any given moment. We must trust in His divine guidance. It is not about the numbers…it may only be just one person who needs encouragement.

  3. So much of what God calls us to do doesn’t make sense — and it may never make sense to us. But yes, he calls us to obedience. Thanks for the comment. Blessings.

  4. My father lived in a nursing home for his last 9 months, and each morning he would check the activity schedule for any music being played. Then he would go grab his friends to attend with him. It was his favorite. Thank you. ❤️

  5. Thanks for sharing your experience. Appreciate you emphasizing the importance of also ministering to individuals. So much of our world measures success by numbers which can distract from ministering to a few. Blessings.

  6. I admire your ministry to these nursing homes. I have known several people in nursing homes and they treasure this kind of outreach. Prayers to you and those in nursing homes as we work through this difficult time with the pandemic. Blessings.

  7. I recently went through the same epiphany with an online blog. God called me to do it, and He didn’t say why. Maybe he has one person who needs to read it. But obedience is primary. He said do it, so I do it for Him, with Joy in my heart. Even if no one reads it.

  8. This is beautiful 💚 I had a similar experience leading a group of women one time. And I also experienced this years ago by being the only attendee in my Sunday School class. And I was blessed both times. ❣️💚

  9. I’ve felt the same way when sharing music at nursing homes. Sometimes just a few residents are brought out, and many of them seem inattentive, but God always works and blesses. As the songs says, “Little is much when God is in it.” Blessings.

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