[This appeared first at LifeChurchNC.com]
June 24, 2016
Around 9:30am this morning (Friday, June 24), Molly and I had the wonderful opportunity see off (alongside many more parents and friends) a total of 108 people, made-up of high schoolers, adult leaders and college leaders, who were setting-out for the much cooler, refreshing mountains of Colorado and Crooked Creek Ranch, where they will attend YoungLife Camp this week. This trip includes several of our own adult leaders, college students, high schoolers and other regular attenders. Personally, I’ve never seen so many Chaco-brand sandals being worn in one place at one time – besides Boone maybe!
I’m so proud of these students and leaders, and I’m especially proud to be part of a church that stands strong behind ministries like YoungLife that reach beyond the walls of the local church relationally to take the Gospel and the hope of life in Jesus to our community. I hope you will join us in praying for a transformative, life-changing week for both the students and their leaders.
I was also reminded this morning of the considerable impact that something as simple as our presence can have on others.
Perhaps you’ve heard the quote, 90% (or maybe 80%) of life is just showing up. The great theologian, Woody Allen,* is often credited as it’s author, but there seems to be some debate about that. And although this quote has often been misquoted and has been butchered plenty over the years, and although I would argue life is a little more than simply showing up places, there is a significant truth just beneath the surface that is worth considering.
*Just to be clear, Woody Allen is probably not considered to be a great theologian. 😉
How many times have we minimized the impact we could have made by simply making the effort to just show-up somewhere for something? For too many of us, we spend way too muchtime self-preserving while questioning what difference our presence can actually make. Besides, they won’t even notice if I’m not there. For others of us, it’s simply the refusal to sacrifice our precious timefor others, because, well, we’re selfish. And still, for others, we’re far too busy with the time we dohave, trying to go everywhere while in the process managing to actually be nowhere.
Let those who have ears hear.
As Molly and I were leaving the parking lot this morning, we discussed for a moment the slight inconvenience of standing out in the 83 degree heat and the 200% humidity, in the middle of a bunch of people we know (and many more we don’t) just to give our blessings, sweaty hugs and to say good-bye. And while, to me, it really wasn’t that big of a deal to show-up for a few minutes – NOT to be seen, but to see – Molly was quick to remind me not to fall guilty of minimizing what a big deal that actually may have been to some. Just like those times I can remember when I was their age, seeing my pastor, a mentor or a friend simply show-up somewhere when they didn’t have to be there. I certainly don’t recall much of what they said when they were there, but I do remember their presence.
One more thought: I can’t help but think there are probably lots of people on those buses who are under the impression that they are going somewhere that God is going to show-up, who for the first time in their lives may discover…
It’s not God who shows-up. He’s already there. God is the one waiting for us to show-up.
As Paul reminds us in Acts:
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
Acts 17:24-28 NIV
Although God is always present – meaning there is no place that exists where God isn’t – there are those moments when we become more aware of His presence. It may have been in a church service, at a camp or a favorite vacation spot. What we often mean when we say, God showed-up, is that we were made, in some profound way, all the more aware of His presence. And when we experience His presence in such ways, things simply happen. Good things.
So, if this is what happens when God shows-up, shouldn’t the same be true when God’s people show-up places?
Perhaps God is waiting to prove through you, to someone around you, that He has already showed-up. And He wants to use your presence, through faith and reliance on Him, to prove it.