“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you…
“Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Philippians 4:9,21-23
“I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here…
“Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
“After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea… See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.” Colossians 4:8-9,12-17
How fitting that Paul would close his letter on rejoicing by commending those at the church in Philippi to greet one another. In Colossae, he named several fellow servants who were also on their side, jointly struggling for the church’s growth and assurance. His M.O. was never to draw attention to himself, but to build up the church. He encouraged good will among the brothers, and gratitude, and mature faith. He commended effective Christian work in service and prayer, and urged the same. He cheered the faithful, and prayed the gospel would have its glorious way among God’s people. And always his words were laced with love, and grace.
We welcome people to the warmth of Christ when we greet them in His name. We convey the grace of His gospel when our words embrace with affection and a sense of value. When we speak, smile, pay attention, and upbuild, we deliver Christ’s welcome, and spread His benediction.
How do, and can, we communicate the greetings of Christ? What is our intention, and how is it planned? What in our schedules need we reorder to take time to reach out to the lonely, rejected, or doubting? What can we do differently at work or church to greet in Christ’s name and way?
Whom will we go after this day or week to bless with His commendation, or upbuild with truth? Who needs special prayer? Ask God to bring them to mind, then make the call, leave the message, or write the note and pray with and for them, leaving words to savor and satisfy. (Colossians 1:3-5a; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4)
Lord, You have welcomed me into Your love and salvation. May I be as generous and gracious to greet others in Your name, so they feel Your love, see Your beauty, and are drawn into Your gracious favor.