Get Out of Your CircleGreetings and salutations were a standard part of Christianity in the first-century church. It is still seen centuries later as an avenue of good will — a universal way of showing friendliness or expressing best wishes.
"Hello" or "How are you" are common greetings today that open up conversations; that provide opportunities to question people, express feelings, develop acquaintances, or find out needs; that let people know we are interested in them. Among brethren the ultimate goal is to create a bond of affection among all — from the richest to the poorest, the youngest to the oldest, males to the females, and the noblest to the commonest.
All of this brings me to the point of this writing. Brethren, "get out of your circle!" It is so easy before and immediately after services to drift or slide into comfortable relationships and spend all our time visiting and bonding with people we already know, appreciate, and love dearly. It is a prevalent practice everywhere I have had opportunity to visit.
I see, for example, the same old groups visiting together at every service. I see the young folks congregate at the same location in the auditorium; I see older couples standing around together as though they had an appointed place; and I see certain families at their same spots week after week.
Now you understand, of course, that nothing is wrong with this. We all need those close, intimate friends with whom we can relax, laugh, and exchange pleasantries. But, my point here is that we have plenty of time to do this after lesser known brethren are gone. Get around to brethren who are less involved, who will be gone within a few minutes, who do not feel a connection, who are gone so soon because they feel no bond among us.
Now I also understand that with some this is not possible. Many are gone before you could possibly get around to them. But there are still a good many brethren who are there but have no strong sense of belonging. Make it your goal to get around to as many as you can in the short time they are there. When you have done that, then return to your "circles." The greater number of brethren who can make less involved brethren feel welcome, feel attachment to the body, feel a sense of belonging, feel a bond of love — the greater becomes our oneness and their encouragement to serve the Lord faithfully.
Greeting one another is a great work and an important act of usefulness. Show yourself friendly!