In a meeting with a Chinese pastor we asked her how foreign Christians in the vicinity of her church could support her and the church. They’re in kind of a rural area (a relative term in China) and most of the foreigners don’t speak Chinese. The foreigners don’t attend often. Lest you judge too quickly, events where you don’t understand what’s going on is a part of life.

But to weekly sit, stand, bow, wonder the topic of the sermon, try to quiet children, try not to look at your watch too often, try not to appear antsy and remind yourself this is supposed to have some elements of worship. Knowing that this isn’t a onetime event, but you’ll be back here next Sunday. It’s easy to ask yourself is it worth it?

So, back to the question asked the pastor: how can we serve you?

Her answer was painfully simple. Just show up. Don’t underestimate the power of your presence.

Just show up.

from Creative Commons: hellobo

from Creative Commons: hellobo

Yes, yes! I say. But then I realize I prefer Nike’s just do it! Doing something seems active and easier to measure the difference I’ve made {um, yes, it’s back to being all about me, all about you, not all about them}.

Don’t underestimate the power of your presence.

Bam, and just that like the incarnation is summed up in a modern proverb. Emmanuel, God with us. Don’t underestimate the power of your presence.

I hadn’t thought of Jesus as being bored. But I bet he was. Or that he’d fidget when something didn’t capture his interest or try not to wonder how much longer he’d have to stay at an event until he could sneak out.  I’m not trying to be irreverent and I know that Jesus was able to be bored without sinning, something I am wholly incapable of doing consistently.

But when Jesus washed the feet of his friends before he died and told them to “go and do likewise,” I think he was throwing in some boredom too. Go, and serve one another, yes. But remember that serving can include just showing up.

And just showing up will result in an opportunity to do something, a chance to pick up your cross, so to speak. But first, don’t underestimate the power of your presence.

Merry Christmas or if it’s not a year to be merry, simply, Christmas to you. Thanks for showing up here so faithfully. Amy


Q4U: When have you just shown up? Or when has someone just shown up for you?

Leave A Comment

  1. David Rupert December 24, 2012 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    Being available is great advice. When I have friends who are hurting — relationships, sickness, death — I go to them not with answers, but just with presence. It works.

    Thanks Amy for some great blogging. I wish I would have got to know you while you were a neighbor, but really enjoy this writing you are doing. Something tells me you do too.

    Merry Christmas

    • Avatar photo
      Amy December 25, 2012 at 5:27 am - Reply

      Likewise David! But life is long … I have a feeling our paths will cross again some day!

  2. Mark Allman December 25, 2012 at 1:15 am - Reply

    I am a strong believer in this. Sometimes we are better off saying nothing… just being there. Showing up does send a powerful message too. That where ever you show up it was worth showing up for.

    • Avatar photo
      Amy December 25, 2012 at 5:27 am - Reply

      Amen, Mark! Amen.

  3. Kristi December 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    During a recent time of darkness and struggle in my life you, Amy, were one of a few dear sisters and brothers who were willing to “just show up” and not try to “fix up” the problem. It gave me the courage to seek healing, wholeness, and rest.

    Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
    just from sin and self to cease;
    just from Jesus simply taking
    life and rest, and joy and peace.

  4. Mark Allman December 25, 2012 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Merry Christmas!

  5. Blake January 2, 2013 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    Good stuff, Ms. Young. Good stuff indeed.

  6. Jenny January 3, 2013 at 4:36 am - Reply

    Well said, Amy. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Loran Epp December 29, 2015 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    Having been a pastor for 10 years (2nd career), people underestimate the value of showing up. They take for granted that you will be there (forever) even if they are not. I was part of a team that was forced to close a church like that. I was the pastorr at that church.

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