When you move to a new place...please say hello.
I'll admit: I've enjoyed a pass on this one. For each of my past four moves I've had hundreds of people waiting at my destination to say hello to me. Granted, most of those hundreds of people cared to do little more than say hello. Not everyone at each of the churches my husband has pastored really cared to go beyond hello and get to know my family. But at least I had a venue, an opportunity and a built in reason to say hello.
My bet is that you have some built-in hellos wherever you may move to as well. The girls down the hall in your dormitory, the other teachers on your faculty, the other nurses on your shift, the fellow students in your classes, your children's teachers, the neighbors surrounding your new home...all are waiting for you to say hello.
But even if you just crossed off every possibility on my list of ready and waiting hellos, you need to say hello...to someone.
Yes, some of us are extroverts and some are introverts. Some anticipate hellos; some dread them. But if you never say hello you'll never have the opportunity to engage, perhaps to befriend and even to love.
Jesus moved from town to town during His three years of manifesting God's glory. He said hello. He said hello to John the Baptist at the river and Peter and Andrew by the sea. He spoke to James and John as they mended their fishing nets and Matthew while he tallied the taxes he had collected.
Jesus said hello to the Samaritan woman at the well (even though she was a woman, a Samaritan and an adulteress). He looked up into a tree and yelled out hello to Zaccheus, inviting Himself to Zaccheus' house. Jesus said hello to sinners and Sadducees, noblemen and slaves, seekers and hiders, adults and children, Jews and Gentiles, men and women.
And why did He say hello? Because Jesus knew His purpose. He came to reconcile people to His Father. And guess what. While you and I are not saviors, we have that same purpose.
Now all these things are from God,
who reconciled us to Himself through Christ,
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,
namely, that God was in Christ
reconciling the world to Himself,
not counting their trespasses against them,
and He has committed to us
the word of reconciliation.
(2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
Whether you have moved to a military installation for a brief stay, a college for a few years, back home in transition, a mission field for a single term or a new home for an indefinite period of time...you need to say hello. While it may seem that your solitary purpose is to take a career course, finish a degree, serve a term or begin a new job, God has higher purposes in mind for you, too. You have been given the ministry, the job, of reconciliation. And how can you share the word of reconciliation with anyone if you don't say hello?
Let me encourage you to look at the people you encounter in your new surroundings with love and interest and friendly anticipation. But please also look into their hearts. See them as God sees them. Approach them the way Jesus would have. Say hello, engage, ask them questions and show them your Lord.
I hope you will say hello to some folks at a local church, too. They've been waiting for you. You may not be the new pastor's wife (or you may be!), but you have been anticipated just as much as I ever have been. You have as much to offer, as much to gain and as much of a responsibility to a local church as I ever dreamed of having. They may not have a big receiving line for you or dinner on the grounds, but they just might invite you out for a hamburger or linger in the parking lot to get to know you.
You'll never know until you say hello.