Showing Up

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”  —  1 Corinthians 15:58


A record was set in the summer of 1995 that literally brought the sports world to its feet. Strangely, it was not some incredible record-setting blazing speed or absolute accuracy or some great display of muscular power. As a matter of fact, it was simply an honor given to someone who showed up more than anybody else in that particular sport. His name is Cal Ripkin Jr., a shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles for years.

He broke a record that many thought would never be broken. It had been set by the legendary Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees’ first baseman–2,130 games before he hung up his glove and called it quits because of a disease that finally took his life.

When Ripkin walked on the field to begin game 2,121, the crowd exploded. Of course, they were there that night for that purpose. For twenty-two uninterrupted minutes they stood and applauded. And a lot of us made it a point to be by the television that particular day so that we could watch history being made.

He stood there, in Ripkin style, and just looked. Eyes became misty as he looked all around the stadium, a stadium where he has played ball throughout his professional career. And then he did a wonderful thing. He walked over to his family and embraced each one of them and gave them something to one and a cap to another. It was just one of those great moments. It was a gracious, public declaration in honor of a man who showed up for 2,131 games, and still went on without missing.

Much of the time, we Christians are focused on the miraculous–the dramatic. The impact of a life in our estimation is measured by momentary or instantaneous achievement and acclaim. Diligence and excellence in the “long-haul’ draws very little attention and does not garner a lot of appeal…until we cross paths with a Cal Ripken.

Paul told the Corinthians–and us–that ‘showing up” is greatly honored and can be greatly used by God. Paul said, “Always work enthusiastically for the Lord.” I believe we are living in days when “showing up” will have the greatest of impacts on our culture. He said, “nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” I am seeing the fruit of constancy every where I look. Where God can find someone who will “show up,” He is “showing out!”

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