The other day after walking through our small rural neighborhood handing out invitations to our Christmas concert, the kids and I returned home in a “mototaxi,” which is a three-wheeled open-air taxi. In the small back seat we were all squeezed together one on top of the other — little Jason was sitting in my lap while Diana, Brayan, and Brayan’s stepbrother were squished on either side of us, almost hanging out of the vehicle due to limited space.
The road to our home is extremely rocky, so we all bumped along, bobbing up and down as the little mototaxi motored up the long pebble path through a fairly populated part of our neighborhood. I have developed the habit of greeting everyone I see, so there I went waving, expressing verbal greetings and smiling at everyone I saw on the narrow gravel road — women tending to small children on their porches, men bent over whacking the overgrown earth with their machetes, idle teenagers sitting on wooden benches.
The kids started to poke fun at me, saying how strange it was that I always greet everyone, especially because many times I don’t even know those whom I greet. I, too, began to laugh along with them without, of course, forgetting to wave to this elderly man and that little girl over there. Through our laughter I began to explain to the kids on my lap and at my sides that greeting one another — especially those whom we don’t even know — is actually a very direct command that Jesus left for His followers:
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Mateo 5:46-47
We had discussed that passage with the children many times before until the children themselves even began greeting others from time to time, but that day as we all rumbled along in the mototaxi God revealed to me in a new way just how profound that commandment is and how He can utilize our faithfulness in greeting others for His glory.
Looking at Brayan on my left, the young man who lived with us for eight months and who continues to be like a son, I suddenly said, “Imagine, I greeted you for the first time almost a year ago, and in that moment neither one of us knew just how deeply God would develop our relationship.” His face developed a sudden smile, revealing small teeth, some of which are chipped or damaged from not having cared for them in his youth. I continued, expressing to him exactly what God was revealing to my heart: “But, look. I greeted you, didn’t I? Without that greeting we might never have met. Everything starts with a greeting.”
With that new depth of understanding, the comments and jokes faded away as a tangible joy, expressed in a rich sense of silence, settled over our bumpy journey home. Our thoughts visited the great wisdom of God with His perfect Word as I quietly gave thanks to God for having brought Brayan into our lives by something as simple as a greeting.
(To read the full story of how we first met Brayan, you can read “It All Started With a Cup of Water” at: https://hiddentreasuresinhonduras.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/it-all-started-with-a-cup-of-water/)