Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
–2 Corinthians 1:2 (ESV)
I walked up to the receptionist, perhaps a bit preoccupied. I was still in the Army and I was wearing my uniform. The cross indicating that I was a Christian chaplain was easily seen.
I wasn’t expecting the greeting I got. She said, “Well, aren’t you the sour one this morning.”
Evidently, the expression on my face conveyed a feeling that wasn’t in my heart. God used that encounter to regularly remind me that a first greeting is important and sets a foundation for further relationship.
Paul gives the above greeting to the people in Corinth. Based on the contents of this second epistle to them Paul could have started with a more direct confrontation, like,”Hey guys, I have some issues that I need to share!”
Paul didn’t do that. He laid a foundation based on the grace and peace of God. Later he addressed issues, but Paul had already laid a loving foundation.
So many times I can focus on my agenda as I talk with others. Too many times I want to just get to my point. I think that is what happened when I talked to the receptionist. I was focused on what I wanted to happen instead of recognizing the value and worth of the person I was talking to.
Jesus challenges me to love others as He has loved me. To do that I need to start every relationship with a foundation of grace and peace based on my relationship with God. As I do that, even my facial expressions will hopefully reflect my love for others and I won’t be identified as a “sour one.”
Prayer: Father God, I have only one opportunity to greet others for the first time. May my “hello” reflect my relationship with You and leave open the possibility of sharing the good news of Jesus with them.