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Just Show Up

My dad always told me when I was growing up, “If you just show up and pay attention, you’ll be way ahead of your peers in life.”
Some time ago I was reading John’s account of the resurrection and was deeply struck by the fact that Mary Magdalene was the first person to encounter the risen Christ.  Isn’t it odd?  She was a woman, one who had been afflicted and tormented by demons, and though she was certainly a follower of Christ, she was not numbered among the Twelve. It is particularly striking when one considers her cultural context.  Women were considered second-class citizens, banned from the inner courts of the Temple, and could be divorced by their husbands at any time without explanation.  The testimony of a woman was not permissible in court and yet Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, choosing her to be the one who heralded forth the news of his resurrection to the disciples.  So why did she have the honor of witnessing the risen Christ before the disciples?
After much thought and study I came to this very simple conclusion – SHE SHOWED UP.  Mary had the privilege of hearing the risen Christ speak her name before anyone else because early on Sunday morning she went to the tomb.  She actually ran and asked Simon Peter and John to join her and after they saw that Jesus’ body was gone, they went home.  But Mary stayed and wept outside of the tomb.  She just wanted to be near Jesus.  He was the one who had delivered her.  He set her free and allowed her to live in her right mind.  She didn’t bring anything to the tomb that was impressive.  She was just there.
As she was weeping Mary spoke with a man whom she thought was the gardener.  But his identity became unmistakable when he said her name – “Mary.”  Can you imagine seeing the risen Christ face-to-face after you thought his dead body was stolen and then hearing him speak your name?!  That’s a scene worth pausing to ponder.  And I think Mary went down in history as the first person to see Jesus in his resurrected body because she was available.  She postured herself to receive from Him.  She was present.
God doesn’t ask that I’m impressive before He’ll show Himself to me.  He doesn’t need me to prove my worth or merit.  But I sure don’t want to miss out on a drop of His goodness because I don’t show up.  Let’s be available to Him.  As my pastor’s wife often says, “Let’s have keen ‘receptors,’ ready to receive all that God has for us.”  Let’s ask God to enlarge our hearts and to FILL us with every last drop of grace and goodness and love He wants to give us.  Let’s just show up and pay attention.
Ashlee Johnson

Ashlee is the wife of a pastor, mom of two busy little ones, and a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary. She is passionate about communicating the truths of Scripture to women and magnifying Jesus as the All-Satisfying Treasure and Almighty Redeemer. She has lived in North Carolina for most of her life and loves making the most of the sidewalks and parks in her 1940s neighborhood. Ashlee enjoys healthy eating and exercising, but finds it nearly impossible to resist homemade cookies!

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