“80% of success is just showing up.” -Woody Allen
So I was re-reading a popular narrative in the New Testament this morning from John 6 and it was the ‘Bread and Fish for All’ as The Message puts it. Traditionally we understand this to be the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. There are a lot of faith-stretching learnings in this story. It was like Jesus was click-baiting his disciples by making them go out and find some paltry replenishments so that they knew in the end, that what would be done would not have come from them and their accomplishments. I could write a whole other book on the futility of self-sufficiency, I’ve lived that dead-end over and over.
8-9 One of the disciples—it was Andrew, brother to Simon Peter—said, “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.”
Here is what struck me this morning; sure the 5 loaves and 2 fish were not nearly enough for 5,000 men (not including women and children), BUT it seems an OBSCENE amount of food for a small boy, no?
Do we ever ask the question why the boy has SO much food just for himself? I’m just speculating, but it occurred to me that maybe the boy just had some extra that morning, maybe sometimes he doesn’t, but that day, that week, that season his family had more than needed. Maybe they made a habit of ‘showing up’ when they had extra with a heart to give and be generous in case the opportunity presents itself. ‘Showing up’ is a decision of the heart and mind to carry out values and commitments whether anyone knows about it or not. Most of ‘Showing up’ is done in anonymity, no spotlight, no miracle recorded, just you and your commitment to who you are and what you want to do in this world.
Everyone wants the miracle, everyone wants the ecstatic experience of the victory, everyone wants the big win, everyone wants the glory of the finish line, everyone wants the accolade of the award . . . but who wants to ‘show up’ when no one is watching? Who wants to give away their extra today because it’s in their heart to do, not because it will be recorded in a Holy Scripture?
I’m in a place in life where I have a lot of great and valuable work, but very little income. I know it is likely just a season, but I don’t know how long the season will last. My mind wants to jump to the end, where Jesus multiplies the little and shows off in the kind of power he has. But in taking the example of this young boy today, I recognize that the challenge is to ‘show up’ today in the value of the work before me without the need for physical reinforcement of income. ‘Showing up’ comes from a deeper set of values, an imbedded set of deep commitments planted in you to fulfill your identity and calling in this world. Collecting a paycheck is not a big enough idea, you were destined to count in ways you never imagined. Today, it’s about ‘showing up’ in our work and letting value be its own reward.