Just Show Up!

Our family has experienced arriving at a new duty station and receiving a warm welcome as well as arriving at a new duty station thinking that someone engraved “ignore me” on our foreheads. I prefer the warm welcome—what about you? All branches of military service put forth an effort to provide information to new residents, and the military as a whole has a welcoming culture.

The scene in Acts 28:15 describes Paul’s arrival in Italy after a long and hazardous journey. A shipwreck, a snakebite, and a three-month unexpected layover in Malta were not on the original itinerary (Acts 27). The challenging trip made the welcome Paul received from the Jewish Christians in Rome even more special. Paul thanked God at the sight of these folks walking down the road. No one called them on a cell phone to let them know Paul arrived. They did not receive a telegram from sea to inform them the ship would be in port. The Holy Spirit sent them on their journey—over thirty miles!—at just the right time to give Paul the welcome of a dignitary. They traveled the distance with no agenda but to show up and welcome him to the neighborhood.

The actions of the Roman Jews inspire me. I think of the times I made excuses to stay safe within my four walls. The effort to meet new people seemed overwhelming. I never think how my “showing up” might encourage someone else. Folks put great effort into planning newcomer gatherings, Bible studies, church services, spouse gatherings, and even information briefings. I tend to have a selfie attitude when I move—people are supposed to show up for me. What difference would it make if I turned the focus around?

Friend, no one may welcome you to your new duty station as if you were a dignitary. In fact, you too may feel like someone stamped “ignore me” on your forehead. May I encourage you to guard against making excuses that will keep you from showing up. Your presence could be just the encouragement someone else needs. Where will you show up today?

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