Why One “Hello” Matters
Recently, I felt led by the Holy Spirit to go out of my comfort zone and greet someone; and when I listened, I got to see God gloriously working in the life of a stranger.
There I was, outside Chapel at our church before a funeral. Everyone was mingling prior to the service and I was in the process of stashing a cranberry muffin in a drawer for later consumption (no judging, please!). That’s when I noticed a man sitting alone by the windows. The Spirit reminded me that I am called to show hospitality to strangers (Heb. 13), and although this man was sharply dressed in a business suit like others in the area, he looked out of place. For some reason, I sensed it. So, I left the desk where I was hiding my muffin and went over to greet him.
As I introduced myself, I asked him how he knew the family of the deceased. I thanked him deeply for coming, and offered him a drink of water. That’s all. It was a pretty simple assignment from God. I don’t naturally feel compelled to make those gestures of kindness and engage in small talk. But I did so because I felt urged to. I didn’t know who he was.
As I was serving at church that following Sunday, I saw him. That quiet stranger was again sitting by the window. Only this time, he had come to the service and brought his family. Later that morning, I discovered that he is a Muslim and that this was the first time he had ever visited a church service. He was so moved by our pastor’s gospel message at the funeral, he wanted to hear more.
A week later, I learned that this same man had intersected with several of our elders through business interactions; and he had been befriended by a College Park family. The man kept meeting people from our church, and those people were (and are) living out their faith and sharing it with him. They are also praying for him. Whether he knew it or not, this man was hearing the call from God.
I didn’t get to share the gospel with the man at the funeral, or befriend him, or really do much of anything. But I did offer him something to drink. And I trust that accounted for something; otherwise: why would God nudge me to do it?
God uses us in big and small ways—in words and in deeds—to be his witnesses. If I am not listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, if I am not responding to any call from him, I am really missing out on seeing what God is doing.
“We don’t choose what we will do for God; He invites us to join Him where He wants to involve us” (Henry T. Blackaby, Experiencing God).