You know who I really admire? People who show up! Those people who actually practice their principles, who give their time and money, who keep their commitments day after day; they are my heroes.
A young guy in my church, Brian, leads our outreach to teens in our town. It’s not an easy thing to do. The Vault meets at an inconvenient time of day, often serves teens who are difficult to say the least, but he keeps showing up, and loving those kids. He does what needs to be done (with too few volunteers).
Tony left the corporate world years ago to start a ministry to men coming out of prison. They don’t all make the transition successfully, which has to be disappointing, but he does not quit. He is always underfunded; but he keeps going with little fanfare. There are dozens more with whom I share the work of God in the local church I pastor, people young and old, who know the call of God and show up – to teach, to love, to give, to worship, to pray, to mow lawns, to prepare bags of groceries … all of them making a difference.
Many people talk about building communities. Lots of people claim to be ‘influencers’ (I really despise that word) in their world. There are Christians who go on at length about the brokenness of our nation and how the church needs to ‘step up’ but they never really show up. Often these people who do so little say so much, criticizing those who are actually at work. I am reminded of myself during football season. I love to watch the game, but I’ve never played a single minute. When somebody makes a mistake on the field, I shout at the television, as if I really understood the pressure of an NFL game! In reality, I look silly.
Most of us would agree that the world we live in is in desperate need spiritually. People are afraid, alone, often without hope. Children are growing up with no real knowledge of the love of God, without any sense that He made them for a purpose. Fear stalks many. Despair is an epidemic. Lives that are empty of meaning are too common.
It’s time for Christians to show up. There are hundreds of ways to make a difference, starting in your own home.
- If you are a parent, be present. Lead your children in meaningful prayer, teach them godly principles by word and example.
- In your work, do your best, without complaining, and encourage those around you – for Christ’s sake, literally.
- Get involved with a church. Yes, the Church is God’s plan for change and if you really want to do His work, it will involve being part of His Body! Show up … when it’s boring and when it’s not; when you agree and when you don’t; when you feel like it and when you’re tired.
- Pray, not just on Sunday, but everyday.
- Give, not just when your bank account has a surplus, but as a priority.
- Seek a place to serve, and keep showing up not just when it’s convenient, or sexy, or fun, but because you’re are called and committed.
- And, do your best, honing the gift of the Spirit God has invested in you.
Jesus says that those who are His followers are to be ‘salt and light’ meaning that we are people that preserve the world from rot and dispel the darkness of evil. It’s a high and holy calling, that comes with a promise of rich reward. It’s not just the work of a few. It is an opportunity for all – who will show up.
Here is a word from the Word. May the Spirit renew our passion and make us faithful.
“When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.’ “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink?” “And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’” (Matthew 25:38-39, The Message)
“Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ “ (Matthew 25:40, The Message)
Let’s show up and make a difference, starting today.
A Charge To Keep I Have
A charge to keep I have
A God to glorify
A never dying soul to save
And fit it for the sky
To serve the present age
My calling to fulfill
O may it all my powr’s engage
To do my Master’s will
Arm me with jealous care
As in Thy sight to live
And O Thy servant Lord prepare
A strict account to give
Help me to watch and pray
And on Thyself rely
Assured if I my trust betray
I shall forever die