Goodbye for now?


My friend, may I ask you a question? Did you know that Jesus is saying “Hello!” to you and me every day? Why is it so common for us to follow his call to action with a “Sorry, but . . . Goodbye! I have this other thing that is bigger for the moment?”

My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.


Probably one of the most frequently used words in the English language, or for that matter any language, is the word “Hello!” The word hasn’t really been around a long time, perhaps no more than 175 years or so. It became particularly popular at the end of the 19th century when it became the accepted way to answer the telephone. Actually the word is an derivative of “hallo,” which was an alteration of “holla” or “hollo.” These words were used to attract immediate attention and demand that the listener come to a stop or cease what he or she was doing; particularly useful when answering the telephone. “Hallo” as well was used to incite hunting dogs to join scent and begin a hunt. Gathering his dogs from horseback the hunter would scan the horizon, look down at his pack and shout, “Hallo!” Almost without hesitation the pack would cease milling around the horse and, with ears forward and tails up, turn in one direction, pick up a scent and begin baying. The hunt thus commenced would end only when the quarry eluded the pack or was taken by it.

Did you know that Jesus is saying “Hello!” to you and me every day? Why is it so common for us to follow his call to action with a “Sorry, but goodbye for now. I have a bigger thing to do at the moment?”

Here’s a story. It seems the old Standard Oil Company offered an enormous sum of money to a missionary in China to work for them, to help with the development of Standard Oil in China. The missionary turned them down. So they doubled the salary offer. He turned them down again. They said, “What do you want? We can’t give more money than that. He said, “The money doesn’t have anything to do with it. The job is too small.” (SimNow.)

Jesus met a man who wanted to be part of his ministry, but put “Goodbye” before “hello.” In Luke 9:61 we read: “Still another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.’ Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’” Here Jesus was saying “Hallo! Come, follow the scent of the lost and pursue them. They may elude you, but it’s all about the hunt!” When Jesus greets us with a “Hallo!” he leaves little margin for “goodbyes.” The reason is, like that missionary, the things of this life are far too small for our immediate attention when compared with the “big” things he's asking of us to do for the kingdom of God. Jesus’s response seems cold on the surface until we understand what’s gained and what’s lost in this exchange. One is valuable, but the other, the call, invaluable and dependent on the moment, not when we’re ready or finished with smaller things. There’s no room for “goodbye” in Jesus’s calling; only “Just say hello!”

We pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for calling us to serve in your work to further the Kingdom of God here on earth. Help us to respond with “just say hello” instead of a “goodbye for now.” Forgive us when we make the priorities of this life, all small and trivial by comparison to your calling, more important than they ought to be. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!

Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don’t let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.

If you have a special prayer request, please send your request to “This Passing Day!” <markcbrunner@thispassingday.com> God bless you for Jesus sake.

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