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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Your Greeting and Serving Makes a Difference

Greeting and Serving Make a Difference
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
June 2013

The last several columns, I have written about the phrase one another and the different things the Bible has to say to us about how to relate to those around us. God has incredible love for us and the heartbeat of what I have see in my personal study of the one anothers  in scripture is He wants us to openly show those around us that love. 
The phrase one another appears numerous times in the Bible, 83 to be exact. What does the phrase mean? Our language uses the word others more than one another. According to some grammarians, if we’re talking about more than just two people, we should use the pronoun: one another instead of each other.

Have you ever thought much about how you greet someone makes a big difference?
I Peter 5:14 says, “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” How we greet someone sets the stage for a positive and healthy interaction. I remember a situation I encountered  not too long ago and I saw the importance of a greeting. I was on my way to a meeting and knew there was going to be a woman there that had caused some discord in the group. As I drove to the meeting, I was praying about the situation. I felt God say to me to make an effort to hug her when she got there. I must admit I took a deep breathe and let out a sigh when I was praying, as that was not exactly what I had in mind. My prayer quickly switched to praying for myself instead of the meeting saying, “Lord please help me.” When she arrived, I made an effort to walk across the room and greet her with a hug. You could tell it was not what she expected and it diffused the tension she brought into the room when she arrived. God’s grace was there to help me and His ways work. 

 I had never really thought much about the importance of greeting or acknowledging someone when we see them. Several times in scripture we are told how we are to act when we meet and greet those that are our friends and acquaintances The Bible has more to say about greetings than you might think. Romans 16:16 and I Corinthians 16:20 both state, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (NIV) Our culture is not usually one that extends a kiss when we meet unless we are married. The intent of the scripture is to greet one another warmly and demonstrate our love for one another. We are instructed to show our love and affection for others and to honor them. Jesus was not afraid to show his love for his disciples and if he walked into my office or yours, I’m sure he would extend his arms and show us how glad he was to see us.

When someone communicates they are glad to see you it actually makes you feel valued and treasured. Conversely, when someone ignores your presence, it does not make you feel very important or valued. I think it is interesting how some businesses these days actually have greeters at the front door to make sure their customers feel welcome.  Do you need to improve on greeting your coworkers and friends? 

What about how you greet your mate? Our mate should be the most important relationship in our lives. I learned a good lesson about this years ago... the hard way. The story went something like this. 
The smell of garlic filled the kitchen as I chopped the little vegetable and put it into the skillet. As I grabbed an onion and the phone rang. “Hi Kathleen, do you have a minute?” said my good friend. “Yes, how are you?” I replied. She began to talk about her kids, job and some problems in her life. I was enjoying the conversation with her when my late husband walked in the door. I looked up at him, smiled and continued  the conversation as I made dinner. Fifteen minutes later I got off the phone and I could tell he was upset. 
“What’s wrong?” I asked. 
“Nothing,” he replied. 
“Somethings wrong,” I continued, pressing the issue.
 “I’m not sure why I bothered to come home, I guess I should have kept working late,” he stated.
 “What are you talking about?” I asked, as I stirred the dinner several more times than it needed.
“I guess Sue is more important than I am,” he said firmly. 

As I reflected and tried to justify why I did not get off the phone when he arrived, I had to admit to myself, that I could see how my actions could have conveyed that he was not the most important person in my life. Once I swallowed my pride, I made it a point to get off the phone when he arrived home from work to honor him and show him he was the most important person in my life. 

Next, I want to tackle the phrase, serve one another. Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (NIV) We are told here to be of service to, be of use to, to assist, aid or make a contribution to those around us. We are to do this, simply because it reflects the heart of God. Jesus served us by dying on the cross. He did that out of a heart to show his love and desire to help us even at his expense. Jesus served his disciples and served those around him. 

There are many social service organizations around our town and nation. When we serve, we give the most precious thing we have- time. Some people are naturals at serving others. They have a real gift in that area and others of us have to work at it. We are called first to serve in our families. Make sure you are putting them first, then serve in your workplace, church and community. How are you at serving others? Do you need some improvement in serving those around you? 

Will you join me in practicing greeting one another and serving one another? I have no doubt our obedience will reap great rewards in our community.

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