Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica - Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus...Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words. (2Timothy 4:9-12, 14-15)
Being a local church pastor, I have seen many seats that have been empty without any good cause. I have seen many young hearts once were burning for Jesus yet dying off without reasons. Demas left his seat empty due to his selfishness. Crescens and Titus left due to other reasons. Demas once had a close relationship with Paul the Apostle... ate with him, prayed with him, fellowshipped with him, won souls with him, travelled with him and now his seat is empty.
I don't know what exactly caused Demas to leave his seat, why he chose to depart his calling in life, without any doubt his absence affected Paul and consider the effect that is having on others.
When your seat is empty at the wedding banquet, you'd miss the best opportunity to celebrate with the wedding party. Imagine Jesus the Bridegroom comes to your table and finds you missing from your seat, how unfortunate and miserable are you? This grieves Him.
When your seat is empty, someone else will fill it in. Elohim God isn't interested in empty seats, and He will replace you with someone else. Humble yourself and hear (Shema) Israel, for the Lord your God is One. (Deuteronomy 6:4)
Paul, was left abandoned. Seats are becoming more empty around him as his life is coming to an end. As church leaders, we often consider leaving a legacy behind if we possibly can. However everyone left Paul; Paul even would ask Mark who he drove away to come back to work with him. In our current definition of success, Paul was a total failure and loser. But I am forever encouraged by Paul’s final words from the same chapter, “for I am already being poured out as a drink offering… I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2Timothy 4:7)
Paul firmly took his seat without compromising even when others left theirs. The question is, will you take your seat, or leave it empty?