The Empty Chair

Published 9/20/19

101 Five-Minute Meal Time Devotions: Fun and Creative Ways

to Teach your Kids Spiritual Values

By Greg Johnson

What If...

Each day it’s the same faces. Thirty-two kids, all in their assigned seats.

At the beginning of the school year it’s fun, waiting to see who’s in your class, but by Thanksgiving you’re ready for a change.

It’s another weekday morning as you’re getting ready to head out the door.

“Anything happening in school these days that’s new or fun?” Mom asks.

“Nope, same ol’ thing,” you say.

“Well, try to make it a good day anyway, OK?”

“OK, see you tonight.”

Arriving at school, you walk into your classroom. Normally you sit next to Marilyn. She’s a nice girl, though not exactly someone you’d play with at recess. But she minds her own business and is friendly.

Marilyn’s been absent for a few days, and when you get to your seat, the one next to you is empty again. Karen, who sits on the other side of Marilyn, asks you if you’ve heard about her.

“Heard what?” you say.

“Heard that she has cancer or something, and she won’t be back the rest of the school year,” Karen says.

“No way. I don’t believe that,” you say. But instead of ignoring what she’s said, you walk over to the teacher and ask her if she’s heard anything about Marilyn. She says she has, but she wants to tell the whole class.

The bell rings to start the day, and your teacher goes through a few announcements. The last one is about Marilyn.

“Perhaps some of you have heard rumors about why Marilyn has been absent from school lately. I spoke with her mother last night, and it seems that Marilyn is sicker than they first thought. I can’t give you all the details, but I can tell you it’s a form of cancer. She’ll be in the hospital for several weeks, and I’m sure she would appreciate a note or something from anyone who would write one.”

Questions to Think On

• Even though this girl isn’t a good friend, would you write her a note, phone, or go visit her?

• If you were very sick, what would you want your classmates to do?

• Some people are too busy to think about or have compassion for others. Are you the type who genuinely cares about others, or are you too busy to think about it?

• Mom and Dad: Did you ever have a classmate who got this sick? Did you do anything?

What Does God Have to Say?

I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward. Mark 9:41

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10


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