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The danger of sitting in another person's pew
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Nearly every churchgoer has seen what happens when a person sits in the preferred pew of a longtime church attendee. Generally, if you see a crochet needle and a soft seat cushion on the pew, or the words “In memory of...” engraved in a brass plate, you would be wise to ask an usher before sitting there.

But one lady in our church got a completely unexpected greeting when she sat in somebody else’s pew.

This woman, whom we will call “Tracey” (not her real name), normally attends the 10:30 a.m. service. However, this particular Sunday she was singing a solo at both morning services. So she showed up early for the 9 a.m. service, and sat on the end of the second pew from the front. That made perfect sense, except that, unknown to Tracey, it was where “John” and “Carol” (not their real names) usually sat.

When John and Carol arrived at church, the couple had to go separate ways for a few minutes before entering the sanctuary. Carol went to the nursery, since it was her turn to volunteer, but they had not discussed that bit of information. So as John entered the worship center, he expected to find Carol on the pew where they always sat, waiting for him to arrive by her side.

John walked to the second pew from the front, and seeing a woman with dark hair standing and singing where his dark-haired wife Carol usually was, he stepped in next to her. He said “slide over baby,” and Tracey did! Tracey thought, “He must not know that I’m not his wife, but I don’t want to embarrass him,” so she moved over, thinking John would look up and realize his mistake pretty soon. “If he had tried to put his arm around me, I would have stopped him,” Tracey said.

When John placed his Bible on the seat and looked up, he saw that another lady was standing where he thought his wife would be! Embarrassed, he grabbed his things, apologized and quickly moved one row back. This did not go unnoticed and he received quite a few laughs from everyone who saw the incident.

John (and Tracey) graciously agreed to let me tell you their story, and John says to tell you: “Lesson learned, look where you are about to sit before doing so!”

While John’s mistake was harmless enough, we all would do well to apply his lesson to life. Sometimes we don’t pay attention to where we’re going, or sitting, and we end up in places we never intended to be. However, God is watching where we go, and so should we. As Psalm 1:1 (NIV) says, “Blessed is the man who does not ... sit in the seat of mockers.”

Copyright 2007 by Bob Rogers. Read this column each Thursday for a mix of religion and humor. You can read more “Holy Humor” on the Web page of First Baptist Church of Rincon at