There is a difference between one who is “present”, and one who is “being present”.
Many of us are parents and most parents understand how being present is everything.
For example, a parent can go to their kids’ soccer game, and sit in the stands on their phone, awaiting the end. Or they can go to the game, and passionately be there. Not by yelling or cheering (okay, maybe for some of us), but by intently wanting to be there. One is “present” and the other is “being present”.
Another example, we can go on a family vacation because, “it’s what families do once a year”, or we can go on a family vacation because we want to spend more time with each other without the daily distractions of life. From the outside looking in, it may or may not be as visibly obvious as the effect it leaves.
The obvious application here is in our spiritual training. If we were to go through the motions at Sunday Service, Small Groups, Growth Track, and Serve Teams, there is very little benefit. We need to "stir" our spirit to be present. This is never more evident to me than during 21 Days of Prayer. You must "stir" your spirit to engage at 7am, it does not just happen. But honestly, I must "stir" my spirit to "be present" most of the time because it is human nature to take the path of least resistance.
The less obvious examples may be our daily encounters outside the church, places where we may be going through the motions. Is it a lack-luster goodbye to our significant other before leaving for work? Is it greeting an employee with a “how are you?” even though we don’t mean it? Is it saying "I will pray for you" when we really don't intend to? It’s okay to discover these in our daily lives. They happen as we become comfortable in a routine, but it doesn’t mean they should stay that way.
Paul wrote this to Timothy, "I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands." Paul reminds Timothy of his family and then encourages him to "be present" by not losing the fire. Fan it, don't go through the motions, stir your spirit, or however else you may want to say it. Bottom line, we all know "being present" trumps "present" every time, not only for us but others in the room.
Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:6 (NIV)
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
“Father, I am grateful that You are always being present. God, you never go through the motions. For this, I bow down and worship You. I pray that my goal would be more than to just show up, but to show up and be present with You, my family, friends, and co-workers. As Paul encouraged Timothy to fan the flame, I pray you would give me fresh wind to fan the flame within my spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen."