Often as leaders we have an unhealthy perspective that we are to fix things for others. We can get caught in the temptation to take on this responsibility as if people and their lives are projects. I propose that a healthy perspective shift may draw others closer to Jesus. What if instead we walk alongside others with the gift of our presence as Jesus did?
Jesus weeps with Mary over the death of Lazarus. John 11:33 tells us, “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” Then, he wept. Here he models the gift of presence in pain as he takes part in sitting in the suffering with others.
In Luke 24 Jesus enters into the wrestlings of a couple of disciples trying to make sense of current events. He joins them as they are walking along the road. He asks them questions and through the gift of presence and a curious posture invites to contemplate and reflect. When necessary, he shares his wisdom and understanding that they may grow in their understanding. Here Jesus models the gift of presence during times of big questions and uncertainty.
And we see Jesus being present in John 21 in the daily routine of the simple things such as meals. He shares a meal with the disciples on the seashore, serving them by building a fire, and relationally engaging.
My mama, whom we call Granny Goose, has dementia, but in one of her lucid moments last week, she said something profound about the impact of being present. She woke up remembering my husband had visited her the night before. She said, “JP helped me so much last night. And he didn’t really do anything. He just being here helped me believe everything was gonna be alright.” May we learn from Granny Goose’s simple words. Shepherding the flock often means sharing the gift of our presence: sitting in pain with others, dialoguing and wrestling together through big questions, and building relationships by gathering together.
Jen Binford, Coach