I can’t imagine not being in a life group at this point. Human beings aren’t supposed to go through life as faces in a crowd. It’s like the song from Cheers. Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.
Tjarks’s piece is fantastic (https://tinyurl.com/3z7e9hc4). I couldn’t help but reflect on how important it was that those twelve people showed up the night the new guy came. They had no idea he would be there. Or that five years later he would be diagnosed with terminal cancer. Or that one day he would ask them to be the lifelong support network for his toddler son. No, they thought they were just showing up, again, like always.
We have been conditioned to think that showing up for something is justified only if we get something out of being there. Such a mindset is not only consumeristic, it’s also incredibly shortsighted. One of my closest friends is someone who showed up one night as the unknown new guy at a Super Bowl party hosted by our small group. Everyone else in the room had gathered together dozens of times. He later came to faith in Jesus. All of us who gathered that night thought we had simply come to eat wings and watch the Colts play the Saints. Even then, I’m glad we all showed up. Woody Allen once said that 80% of life is just showing up, which he contrasts with just staying home in bed. His estimate might be low.
Showing up is not only about the new person coming in the door. It could also be about the person who has been around a very long time but has one foot out the door due to discouragement or doubt. Never underestimate the impact of your presence on a person who is at a pivotal point in their struggle with spiritual matters.
We need to show up. We need to develop habits and routines that make us available to others. We need to attend funerals and visit hospitals and join small groups. Only God knows what might happen when we show up. Every time we show up for the umpteenth time there might be someone else showing up for the first.