I wonder if the importance of greeting someone graciously has much to do with the value of acknowledging his fundamental worth as a human being. If this view is correct, to fail to greet someone may well be to dehumanize him in a grievous way.
Scripture emphasizes highly the necessity of our greeting one another. Ruth 2:4 presents an instance where people greeted one another with two greetings that we would do well to consider and use more.
Boaz’s Greeting to His Reapers
Although Boaz was “a mighty man of wealth” (Ruth 2:2), he did not consider himself to be above greeting those who labored for him in his fields: “And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you” (Ruth 2:4a). His greeting points to some truths worth noting.
First, Boaz displayed the fundamentally spiritual orientation of his thinking by focusing on the Lord even in greeting common laborers whom he encountered. Boaz thus made good use of his freedom and opportunity to speak of the Lord in the workplace!
Second, Boaz did not just speak impersonally about the Lord; he openly related the benevolence of his heart for his workers by declaring his desire that the Lord would be with them. Such a greeting from him as their employer no doubt would go a long way toward boosting their morale in the workplace and increasing good will between him and all these who labored together for him in a common cause.
The Reapers’ Greeting to Boaz
The reapers of Boaz responded to his greeting by answering him, “The Lord bless thee” (Ruth 2:4b). Their greeting to him shows some important truths as well.
First, like Boaz, they showed their spiritual mindset by making the Lord the focus of their greeting. Even though they were common laborers, they apparently knew of the Lord at least to the extent of freely invoking His name in their greeting.
Second, as Boaz did for them, so they communicated their desire for his welfare by expressing their wish that the Lord would bless him. Their response seems to have revealed their good relationship with him and their longing for him to prosper in the ways of the Lord.
The Value of Our Greeting One Another with These Two Greetings
Our genuine use of Boaz’s greeting, “The Lord be with you,” when we encounter other believers would help to sanctify all of our interactions with one another. We would thereby display our spiritual mindedness, focus on the Lord, and benevolent desire for our brethren.
Greeting one another with these words would also serve to remind us to be spiritually minded believers who make much of Jesus’ glorious promise to all His disciples: “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28:20). We would thus richly edify one another even in what we say in greeting one another!
As with our use of Boaz’s greeting, so there is great value to our using the greeting with which his reapers responded to him, “The Lord bless you.” By our using this greeting with believers who greet us, we further edify one another spiritually by communicating our focus on the Lord and our desire that He would prosper them in His ways.
Let us continually edify one another with these two biblical greetings that are worth using!
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