Tonight, with 9 other friends, I helped stuff, seal, stamp and address nearly 500 letters to high school freshmen in the area. We were inviting them to YoungLife, a Christian outreach committee that I am incredibly blessed to be a part of.
As I stuffed the letters, I kept seeing the first word on the paper, “Hello.” Over and over, I kept feeling myself drawn to the word.
We kept chatting, and eventually, someone began praying over each letter. Praying that somehow, someway, these letters, these invitations could someone invite these kids into something much greater than themselves.
I was reminded of the first time I was invited to something in the church. I was blessed to grow up in the church, but I wasn’t really invited to something until my 7th grade year. It took someone that I looked up to simply saying hello. A simple conversation took me down a path that revolutionized my life.
Hello- a greeting, a formality, an invitation. It may seem simple, but it acknowledges someone’s existence, and invites them to participate in your life, if only for a brief moment of time. It can be a powerful indicator of your interest in their life if you want it to.
And all you have to do is say hello.
Sometimes, I walk past people on the street, and I can look in their eyes and instantly know that they are hurting, ashamed, or just plain down. So often I follow the conventional: keep my eyes down and pull out my phone. I am sure that there are many times where the person I am walking across from is thinking the same thing about me.
Look, saying hello can be scary. And I am not saying that saying hello means you need to/have to do anything beyond that. But no connection in life can come without an introduction. We all need to be introduced to something that we initially know nothing about.
And we are called to do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:26 says, “Greet all your brothers (and sisters) with a holy kiss.”
Now I don’t know if I am quite ready to greet everyone that I meet with a kiss, but I can greet them with a simple hello. All in all, everyone who has made a positive impact on my life had to say hello to me first. The least I can do is the same. From there, you can create a brand new connection.
More importantly, God is constantly saying hello. He is greeting us in our lives, He is meeting us where we are, and He knows that a lot of times, we are going to hear His hello and not respond. And that can hurt. But He keeps saying hello.
So many times in my life, I have moved away from who God is, and what He is doing in my life. And like the world’s most patient dinner host, he constantly reminds me of his name. “Hello, I’m God, and I love you.”
Hellos that come from humans can allow you to glimpse a small portion of God’s face. I firmly believe that others can invite us in closer to God. But if we just close our eyes and ignore those around us, how could we possibly say hello?
Going back to the letters, we hope that our hellos would be an introduction of a life beyond what anyone could have imagined. Even if our letters reach no one, we have said hello. We can’t keep sending letters (my fingers will be angry with me for a while), but we can keep saying hello. Hopefully our letters reach someone, and they will say hello back. I can’t imagine how excited I will be to hear that my work, all of my hellos, brought someone new closer to us.
I can’t imagine how much more excited God is when we respond to his hello.
Even though He never stopped saying it.