Posted by: amylamb | February 8, 2013

Show Up

When I travel abroad, I take off my watch as soon as I board the plane. I do this because it helps me enter the cultural mindset of most of my international destinations: the mindset that time is not a commodity and that the busier you are, the less effective you are.

Living without a watch is freeing. It helps me focus on where I am and who I am with. Without a watch, I can focus my full attention on those I am with — not on the “tick tock” of the clock that implies impending responsibility to do … stuff.

Here in the West, the rampant glorification of “busy” is causing us to forget the power of physical presence. We tend to operate by the belief that the busier we are, the more valuable we are. So we fill our time with commitments and responsibilities that can often prevent us from being fully effective members of the body of Christ.

In no way am I advocating irresponsibility, but I am advocating for correctly ordered priorities. I am suggesting that we learn to value our relationships more than we value our time. Most essentially, I am advocating that we learn to take off our watches and treat the person in front of us as if they are the most important thing in our lives at that moment. We have to learn to hear the needs of others louder than the tick-tock of our watches.

Following Christ means we must give up the right to our time. Now we must operate on his schedule, his plans, and his timing.

That means we consider the needs of others more important than the needs of ourselves — and our to-do lists. We, when appropriate, set aside the deadlines and distractions that busy our lives to notice those around us and the unseen needs that can be met only by a little time and service. We turn off our phones for a while so we can focus our full attention on the person in front of us. There, in the unexpected opportunities to serve others, we encounter Christ.

Jesus calls us to show up. Though He could have completed his redemptive work with one word spoken from the lofty realm of heaven, He chose to show up and dwell among us for 33 years. He literally “moved into the neighborhood.” He came to endure what we endure, enjoy what we enjoy, mourn when we mourn, and rejoice when we rejoice. That is the model of following Christ: to go, to pursue, to disciple, to enjoy. To be among the suffering, the isolated, and even those unaware of their need.

When we choose to be available enough to be Christ to others, we find that Christ is there, too. And that is the Christ we seek to follow, and that is the Christ we seek to share. So wherever you go, be fully there, as Christ is. A single encounter with Him is worth the meager sacrifice our time, our resources, and our presence.

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