Showing Up Counts

We use all sorts of excuses to avoid doing what we know we should do. We’re too tired, too busy, too stressed, too lazy, too old, or too young. We rationalize non-participation by saying maybe next time, or maybe if circumstances were different. We miss out because we fear we might not fit in or it just looks too hard.

Jesus is God incarnate, Immanuel. He left the glory and holiness of heaven to show up here on earth so that he could be God among us. He loved the commoners and sinners that the religious elite of his day chose to ignore. He showed up at the favorite fishing hole of Peter and John, at the well of the Samaritan woman, and under Zaccheus’ sycamore tree. He showed up in the middle of the Sea of Galilee during a storm and at Lazarus’ tomb. He intentionally went to the place where he knew Judas would look for him in the Garden of Gethsemane and betray him to the authorities. He showed up on the Damascus Road and behind locked doors when his disciples were afraid. He is the God who keeps showing up, even when we least deserve his presence, especially when we least deserve his presence.

As Jesus traveled around Galilee, crowds began to show up. Some of them came because they were truly looking for the messiah. Some came because they were looking for some free entertainment and a day off. Some came because their friends did. Some came because they’d heard about miracles and were out of other options.

This is an amazing verse to me:
Mark 6:34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

He didn’t judge them for selfish motives. He didn’t complain that they had come unprepared or used him as an excuse for a day off. He didn’t condemn their sin or fuss at their lack of faith. He looked at the crowds and felt compassion. Whatever their reason for showing up that day, when Jesus saw them, he felt compassion. He taught them truth, he fed them – body and soul, and he no doubt healed many of them…body and soul. None of them earned his compassion or deserved his mercy. He freely gave of himself because he had compassion on the ones who showed up.

This is Holy Week. It is easy to celebrate the Hosannas of Palm Sunday and the Hallelujahs of Easter morning. But you can’t ignore the humiliation and shame and physical pain and emotional torture of what Jesus faced all alone during his trial, beating, and crucifixion. This God intentionally showed up on earth to offer himself as a sacrifice so that we could avoid the punishment our sin deserves. His sacrifice allows you to know him now so that when you show up in heaven, he will be able to claim you as his precious child and share eternity with you. It is my prayer for you that you will set aside at least a part of this holy week to show up in his presence. You need to show up…for quiet time with him, in study of his holy scripture, and at corporate worship in the Church that he established. For him you are not part of a crowd; you are his chosen one. When he sees you, he feels compassion. Whatever your motives, whatever your needs, whatever your capabilities….just show up. He’s already waiting for you.