“Then Jonathan said to David, To morrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty.”
I Samuel 20:18
David and Jonathan are discussing King Saul’s disfavor with David. David knew that Saul, Jonathan’s father, was determined to kill him. On “the new moon,” David would be expected to sit at his regular place at the king’s table. Instead, he would be absent, and Jonathan would seek to determine Saul’s disposition toward David.
Our text is a simple statement about the fact that Saul would notice David’s absence at the table, but it says something about the faithfulness, or consistency of David. Jonathan said, “thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty.” David had a regular place to be seated; he was known to be in his place, so much so, that if he were not in his place, he would be missed.
Our minds are immediately drawn to the consistency of our own lives, and the importance of being in our place. Having been the pastor of the same church for more than two decades, I can testify to the importance of people being in their place. There are few things that are more encouraging to a pastor than having members who are consistently in their place. And if for some reason they are not going to be in their place, they let you know ahead of time.
On the other hand, one of the most discouraging things that we have to deal with is the unfaithfulness of God’s people. Too many professing Christians are far from being faithful. Some are so inconsistent that if they are not in their place, it is possible they may not be missed. There are far too many who claim to be saved, but are not interested in accountability to the body of Christ. Many people refuse to take a place of leadership or responsibility because they are not committed to being dependable. Just as David had a place, we have a place. At church time, we should always be in our place. If we are involved in a ministry, we are to regularly be in our place. It is a sad testimony that believers would be more concerned about their punctuality for a secular employer than for the King of kings. If we are not in our place, we will be missed.
Let David be an example to each of us. God wants us to be so dependable and punctual, that others anticipate our being in the place He has for us. May we so consistently be in our place that when we are not there, others will miss us.