When we show up somewhere, we anticipate being welcomed.
Imagine, if you can, arriving at your destination and finding no one to greet you, to welcome you. It’s hard to conceive of arriving at church, someone’s home, a restaurant, or a concert event and realizing there is no reception, no greeting, no welcome.
We desire to be received!
While He was here on earth, Yeshua welcomed everyone into His presence while teaching and ministering. If we follow His example, we won’t be shy about welcoming others. We will receive them into our home, work, and even boldly greet a stranger on the street. Do you know the impact that a smile and a greeting can have on others? Have you experienced how it can brighten someone’s day? As Believers, our attitudes must align to His and reflect this Yeshua-like behavior.
Aren’t you glad our God is welcoming?
God receives all who believe in Yeshua into His family. This verse sums up a welcoming attitude: “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.“ Galatians 3:28
Galatians 3:28 was a reminder written to the early Believers. In those days, they did not customarily trust or interact with people from other places or cultures. In our own society today, it can still be difficult to accept people who differ from us because of our cultural expectations. But we must remember that if someone is a Believer in Messiah, we are the same according to God’s Word regardless of background or ethnicity.
Believers’ reception of fellow workers: ”When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.” Acts 15:4
In this case, Paul, Barnabas, and others were traveling to Jerusalem on a mission for the newly birthed congregation. This passage reminds us that workers in the Kingdom need to be welcomed and served with fervor. Whether it’s a missionary, an elder, a custodian, or anyone who works for the congregation, they should always be graciously received by members and fellow Believers.
Welcome everyone — not only fellow Believers: “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:46-48
This scripture does not contradict the previous example; it simply brings the welcoming concept to the next level. It’s easy for us to welcome other Believers, but what about those who have no belief or who believe something else? One of the distinguishing marks of a follower of Yeshua is an attitude of grace when we meet those who have nothing in common with us.
An exceptional welcome: "When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing.” Luke 9:11
Yeshua was attempting to go privately with His disciples to a deserted place. When the people heard about it, they followed. When the people arrived, though He sought privacy, Yeshua received them with gladness. Yeshua’s example to us; extend grace even when it’s inconvenient or unexpected. Not only did he treat the crowds with kindness by welcoming them, but he also did something for them. He told them about the Kingdom of God and healed them. This attitude is more than hospitable; it’s sacrificial, finding ways to bless people.
In some countries, it’s traditional to rub noses, exchange air kisses, extend a hand, clap hands, or put your hands on your heart and bow. In Israel, people greet each other with Shalom, which means more than a simple hello. Yeshua took this greeting a step further when He met others by saying Shalom Aleichem, which means abundant peace! Whatever the tradition, it’s clear that there are many expressions that show a person they are welcomed.
I believe that in today’s world, it is so important to show the love of Yeshua to everyone we meet, everywhere we go, and in all that we do. Let us all take the time to be mindful of the way we greet others. Let our actions and words be the holy kiss to greet each other!
When Harlon and I began our ministry over 20 years ago, want to guess how we started? We were greeters. We loved being the first faces people saw when they came to church. That experience has brought us far. It was a great beginning and one we have come to value over the years.
May you be blessed today and always, and remember you have the ability to make someone’s day a little brighter! Why not seize the opportunity?
In Yeshua's Love,
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from The TLV Holy Scriptures: Tree of Life Version Author: Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society Publisher: Baker Print Publication Date: 2015