Showing Up

One of the most important ways we can live out Jesus’ command to love one another is to show up in crises. When you know someone who is in crisis of any kind — loss of job, loss of loved one, loss of a relationship, illness, whatever — your job as a follower of Jesus is to show up.

This may not be instinctive to you. And I can guarantee you will hear excuses. People will say, "They probably just want to be left alone.” “They don’t need us butting in.” “They’re very private people."

Those things may be true, but they are only part of the story. The rest of the story is that hurting people need support — 100 percent of the time. I have never showed up at a hospital room or a funeral home or an altar in front of a candle where people were not glad to see me.

That great philosopher of our times, Keaunu Reeves, once said, “One of the most important things in life is just showing up.” Woody Allen said 80 percent of success is showing up. They were both right. Allen’s axiom extends to success in relationships. Showing up is fundamental to supportive friendships, especially in hard times.

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to hear amazing stories about the church. People just come up to me and tell me how their faith community impacted them, helped them, rescued them. And those stories almost always involve showing up. They tell me about friends showing up at their doorstep late at night with a six pack, or showing up in hospital rooms with dinner, or showing up at funerals they had to drive all night to get to, or showing up with a mower or a socket set or bail money.

They never tell me stories about how people respected their space and kept their distance.

Let me say this clearly: If you’re part of a circle of Jesus-followers, and someone in that circle is facing a crisis alone, you are not fulfilling your calling as a Christian.

I realize that some people seem to always have a crisis. And I certainly want us to be wise and not enabling in those situations. But the one thing we cannot be is absent. Your work deadline or your home project or your Netflix queue can wait.

Don’t pass up opportunities to show up when someone needs support.