“Hi, how are ya?” has become the new “Hello.” But too often when we say this, we are not necessarily wanting to know how someone is and we may not even wait for a response. How often do we just talk about nothing and “shoot the breeze”? How much more meaningful it would be to have a genuine care about someone—to ask about them and listen to their response; Better yet, to bring spiritual significance into the conversation. As Christians, may our words be meaningful and life-giving, not just shallow small talk or wishing someone luck.
How much that was impressed on me when Monie Fluth related an experience on a recent trip to Africa. A Christian brother greeted her one morning, not with the typical “Hi” or “How are you,” but with “What is God teaching you today?” We could even inquire about a known spiritual struggle and how God has been meeting that need.
Scripture has much to say about the words we speak:
- Speaking truth (Zechariah 8:16; Ephesians 4:15)
- Judgment for careless words spoken (Matthew 12:33-37)
- The need to guard the powerful mouth/tongue (Psalm 141:3; James 3:3-10)
- Many Proverbs highlight the importance of honest, gentle, and humble words (10:19; 12:17-22; 15:1-2, 4; 25:11; 26:20; 27:2)
- Praying for one another (James 5:16)
What would it be like if we really mean it when we say we will pray for someone?! In fact, we can pray right then for that person or for their need or concern––even over the phone. During my twenty-seven years of working in the Church Office there were many instances when someone would call or drop by and share a concern, and I had the privilege of praying with them over the phone, or in the office, or going to a more private room to hear them and pray for them.
Many who know me know that I enjoy writing notes, cards, and letters (and also receiving them!). We all have opportunities to share through that means as we send a note of thanks or congratulations or sympathy, a “thinking of you” encouragement, a birthday card or other. Let us be sure when we do to share something of significance—more than just a “hi!” or simply signing our name. What a tremendous privilege is ours to share what God has done for us and to use such an occasion to build up one another in Christ. The Apostle Paul certainly used his letters to not only challenge believers, but especially to give spiritual encouragement (c.f. Philippians 1:3-11; Colossians 1:3-14).
Marilyn Sweet was the Office Administrator at NSCBC for 27 years and continues, after retirement, to serve the church family in many ways. Her heart is that everyone who walks into our church would feel welcomed and encouraged.