Sometimes not being present can result in tragedy. As most know, the Titanic, a British luxury passenger liner, sank on April 14-15, 1912. En route to New York City from England, the massive ship struck an iceberg, which ruptured five of its “watertight” compartments toward the bow. 1,500 people tragically met their fate that night. In the book Kingdom Disciples, Tony Evans tells the story of David Blair, with whom most are unfamiliar though we know all too well what happened when he wasn’t present.
David Blair was second in command on the Titanic and was scheduled to make the voyage from England to America. However, he was reassigned the day before the launch and he had in his pocket the key to the crow’s nest locker. That locker contained the high-powered binoculars that were supposed to be available for the lookouts assigned to watch from the raised crow’s nest for possible dangers. Because Mr. Blair had the key with him, the binoculars were inaccessible at the most critical moment. In essence, their purpose was negated by their absence.
Has someone ever said to you, “I wish you were here so that things would have turned out better” or “if you were here I know you could have taken care of it?” Sometimes our absence seems benign but other times it proves to be detrimental. I remember trying to do events for teens and not having enough volunteers commit to serve. More than once, this led to the cancellation of an event. I can also think of times where people committed to a conference or an event and then backed out at the last minute, placing undue stress on those who remained committed. If the purpose inside of you was necessary at the beginning, don’t go missing when everyone is pressing towards the conclusion.
You will be most comfortable in your role or station in life if you know why you’re there to begin with. Mark Twain said, “the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Why are you needed? Why are you doing what you’re doing? What vision are you bringing to pass? Understanding your role and the value that you bring to the team, organization, school, church, or event is primary. Knowing your purpose will be your best aid in determining what value you bring to anything or anyone. In essence, your purpose will tell you where to be. In all of the preparations that were made for the Titanic to set sail, a part of that plan included having binoculars on board to spot icebergs and other obstacles. On a ship weighing 46,328 tons, the ship was sunk in large part due to the absence or unavailability of an object weighing only 4 pounds. Even when you feel small, it doesn’t mean you’re not significant. Everyone wants to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. That can be the vision of a person, organization or the cause of humanity itself. Therefore, be consistent in your commitment so that you are present when needed.
Now that you know why your presence is necessary, ensure that you bring all of you to the table. There is no point in being present while being absent minded. You aren’t there just to fill a position. You are there to advance a particular vision. The job, career, group, organization, ministry, or corporation doesn’t just need you to show up but to show up with purpose. If it be true that you were created on purpose with purpose, then it is important to live a life where you empty yourself of that purpose. Don’t die because you’re old. Die because you’re empty. Live in such a way that the gifts and talents that you have are fully manifested for all to see. There is no point in trying out for and making the football team if you don’t want to play and contribute to the team’s victories. There is no point in applying for a job with a company you feel you can advance and then watching the clock and waiting for 5pm. Do yourself a favor and be purposefully present, mentally and physically, and watch what other opportunities begin to present themselves to you.
“Presence is more than just being there.” – Malcolm Forbes