Summary: God can use each of us in powerful ways, but sometimes all God wants us to do is just show up. He will do the rest.
Just Show Up
The prophet Jeremiah, in chapter 29, verses 11-14 writes, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me, with all your heart. I will be found by you says the Lord.” With these words, inspired by God and written over 500 years before the birth of Christ, Jeremiah prophesied to the northern kingdom of Judah, a nation full of God’s chosen people who ignored everything he tried to tell them, from the King on down. Judah was soon captured by the Babylonians and put into captivity for 70 years until God allowed them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple and restore worship. Jeremiah tried to tell them what was coming, he tried to warn them, he tried everything he could to get their attention, but they would not change their evil ways. What were their evil ways? Simply put, they had no need for God in their lives and on a daily basis, they worshipped everything but God. Oh, they went through the motions, offering sacrifices, attending Temple worship, assuming that by fulfilling those requirements they would be considered Holy, but God knew their hearts. God always knows our hearts. Jeremiah was literally heart-broken for God’s people because they were too caught up in their own lives to have any time at all for God. I don’t believe a lot has changed in 2500 years or so. But God promises a future and a hope. His thoughts are of peace, not evil, and this promise is available to anyone God calls His own, but He does not want us to sit back, do nothing and just wait for Him to work in our lives. Listen to the action words in just these verses from Jeremiah:
And God says do these things with all of our hearts! Wholeheartedly! Heart Felt! Heart filled! As the song says, “With all of my heart, with all of my heart, I will praise You Lord, with all of my heart!”
When we do call upon God, go, pray, seek and search for Him, we will find Him, and God will use each of us to reach out to those around us who are seeking Him as well. It’s simply showing up, being available, actively listening, praying, searching and seeking for ways to become the hands of Jesus. We don’t need to be theologians or in ministry full-time, God uses and blesses us where we are, when we just show up.
Once again the life of Jesus is the blueprint for just showing up. Think of the number of times He showed up. Think of all the healings, the miracles, the teachings that took place all because Jesus showed up where there was a need. It takes faith and courage to show up. Of course Jesus did the healings and miracles, but what if the friends of the paralytic man had not agreed to take him to where Jesus was speaking or the nerve to lower him into the room? What if Jairus had not taken advantage of the opportunity to see Jesus and ask for his daughter’s healing? What if the woman had not gathered her courage to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe? What about all of the others that made themselves available when called? The life-changing encounter with the woman at the well, found in the Gospel of John chapter 4, happened because two people showed up, two people answered God’s call, two people made themselves available for His work, Jesus and the woman. The people in these events didn’t look the other way, they didn’t pretend to not see the other person, they weren’t so absorbed in their daily tasks that they missed the opportunity to be a part of God’s plan. The disciples were chosen because Jesus showed up where they were, and the disciples didn’t say they would think about it or see if Jesus’ call fit into their plans, they simply accepted His offer, made themselves available, grabbed the opportunity and showed up.
it’s up to us to be open to these times and step out in faith when we are called; to act on and search for the opportunities that God puts into place for us to show up, no matter how we may be feeling. Jesus spoke of this when He was first instructing His disciples. In Matthew’s Gospel, (in the Message translation) chapter 10, verses 40-42, Jesus says, “Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts Me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts My Father who sent Me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice.”