“And many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother” (John 11:19).

Raise your hand if you tend to overthink things. My hand is held high over here! Whether we incorrectly read between the lines or second-guess every gut instinct, we can quickly and easily talk ourselves out of doing the right thing. I am convinced that this is one of the sharpest tools in Satan’s toolbox.

John 11:19 is tucked away in the middle of the Lazarus narrative, but it’s too important to skim over. It states a simple fact, “many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.” But this simple fact packs a profound punch. I recently witnessed something similar. Our daughter-in-law’s father passed away, and I was convicted by the support and comfort she received from friends and other relatives. While I was paralyzed by indecision, these folks took action. They brought meals, sent flowers, and dropped off gift cards. One guy came over and did yard work. Another friend just hopped on a plane and went.

These things all seem obvious, but my indecision was caused by overthinking. Every good response I had was met with what seemed like a reasonable objection. Should I drop everything and go? No, they don’t need me underfoot. Should I send a fruit basket? No, that’s not special enough; they can buy produce at the food store. Should I send flowers? No, they probably have more than enough of those already. Should I Door Dash some dinner for them? No, they might not like what I send. In all my second-guessing, I overlooked one of the most basic ministries of the church: the ministry of showing up. My fear of doing or sending the wrong thing kept me from doing anything at all.

We shouldn’t let the threat of imperfection hinder our genuine, godly instincts to comfort people who are hurting. Don’t believe the lie that the casserole you bring must be perfect or the flower arrangement has to be Insta-worthy or the card you send has to have exactly the right words.

When my mother died in 2011, many people came by the house, and most of them were empty-handed. But they came. Some brought flowers or food or a box of tissues, but most simply brought hugs and shoulders to cry on. And that meant everything to me. Whether you’re the only one or you’re one of many, just show up. Bring food or don’t bring food. Just show up. If you’re far away, send a card that simply says, “I love you. I’m praying for you.” Just show up. Don’t let fear of imperfection keep you from practicing the beautiful ministry of showing up.