It’s a question asked thousands of times each day: “How are you?” Whether it’s the mailman, the neighbor across the street, or the checker at Walmart, we have grown to include some variation of that question as an extended greeting to others. In the South, it sounds like this: “Howya doin’?” My Texas Aggie friends simply say, “Howdy.” The folks in New York City tend to not say it at all; they prefer, “Excuse you.” But that’s a post for a different day.
You know how the Doppler effect kicks in with a motorcycle or freight train? You hear the sound coming in the distance . . . then it gets really loud when it’s right beside you . . . then it fades off into the distance. Well, I think there’s a little bit of Doppler in the way we greet people too. Think about it. How often does someone ask you how you’re doing — only to walk right past you without skipping a beat? If we’re honest, it happens pretty often. If we’re doubly honest, we can probably say that we’ve been guilty of doing the same thing to others.
Life is hard. Times are tough. Worries are rampant. Every time you turn on the news, there’s something else to be concerned about. Rising costs. Falling home values. Broken families. Sometimes the burden of care becomes too great. If it weren’t for the power of Christ at work within me, there would be absolutely no way I could function in this world.
People today bear a lot of hurts, wounds, scars, sorrows, anger, confusion. You get the point. Every day we have a responsibility to help someone move closer to God. A warm smile, a gentle touch, and a friendly hello can go a long way to make one’s day a bit brighter. We never know how God is going to use us from one minute to the next, but we can be assured that He cares deeply about people — and wants us to care too. My wife, Michelle, recently said it this way:
I want to leave people better than I met them. I want to bring joy, peace, and gratitude to the people I encounter on a daily basis. I want them to walk away feeling better. Sometimes this requires a simple smile. Other times it requires kind words, forgiveness, and/or a listening ear. It isn’t always easy, or convenient. It may require me giving up my way – or losing an argument. But, in the end, it is sharing God’s love with them.
As you go through the rest of your week, I encourage you to make time for people. Don’t just offer a trite, rhetorical “How are you?” Instead, take time to listen to people. Take time to connect on a personal level. Take time to bask in the interruptions of life in order that they might become ministry opportunities.
I’ve long heard the statement, “You may be the only Jesus some people ever see.” Will they see Jesus in you today?
IT’S YOUR TURN!
How do you feel when someone takes time to show interest in and concern for you? How can you be more sensitive to and available for those in your workplace, neighborhood, or church?