Woody Allen is credited with saying, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” If you check other sources, he might also have said that “ninety percent of life is just showing up.” I’m not sure how one accurately measures either of these statistics, or which quote he actually said in which context, or if you aspire to hold to the beliefs of Hollywood icon Woody Allen. But I think we can all agree on this: Showing up matters. In a big way.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, as we’ve been struggling to find good employees to work at our brewery. We hired seven new people, and six of them didn’t show up for their first day of work. A few more didn’t even show up for their scheduled interviews. No matter what Woody Allen says, there’s a 100 percent chance of not success in that case. During this time of being short-staffed at the brewery, we’ve also been blessed to notice the good people who have shown up in a big way. Some are employees who’ve stepped up to help out by working a lot of extra hours and jumping in to learn new tasks. Some are just good friends who’ve shown up and offered their services (including Pastor Mike, whom we put to work doing dishes). To see loved ones coming through and helping us out is one of those neat little blessings from God in the midst of a difficult time.
Jesus’ brother James, who became a leader of the early Christian church, wrote a book in the Bible. A big chunk of it is all about showing up—faith in action. Here’s what he says in James 2:15-17: “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” In other words, we’re saved by faith alone, but faith is never alone. In other other words, show up! Show up for your friends, your enemies, your siblings, your kids, your boss, your coworkers, that crotchety old neighbor guy who probably shouldn’t be climbing on ladders. Show up. Don’t just have faith, live your faith, and show Jesus behind everything you do.
It’s not always easy. Showing up often means doing things that aren’t pleasant . . . like dishes. Showing up might mean putting yourself into some uncomfortable situations. It might mean missing that television show you love or that football game with your buddies. It might mean opening your home or your fridge or your wallet to someone in need. Or it might be as simple as showing up to work faithfully at your job or showing up to listen to a friend who needs to talk.
Are there people in your life who come to mind after reading this? People who’ve shown up for you? God is giving you glimpses of faith in action. Glimpses of Jesus, the ultimate “Show-upper.”
Think about all the times that Jesus showed up. He showed up to raise a little girl from the dead. He showed up to save a woman from stoning. He showed up to feed five thousand people. He showed up to confront the Pharisees. He showed up to confront and cast out demons. He showed up to heal a paralytic. He showed up to the cross. We know from his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane that dying on a cross was really not Jesus’ top choice of things to do on a Friday night, but he showed up. He allowed himself to be arrested and mocked and nailed to the cross—those verbs are all in the passive voice, but this was love in full action. Jesus showed up.
And now? Now we live for him. We show up to show him to others. Because love does. Love acts. Love shows up.