I was in the office this week when a few people came in. My observation was that we said, ‘hello and how are you’. I realised however that everyone expected a normal answer of OK and moved on quickly to talk about other things. I had to then pull up one of the people on the issue of not waiting for a full response and he said; ‘well, how are you is a rhetorical question, and no one expects an answer really’. Hmm – I wondered if I was the only strange one in the world; I expect genuine answers when I ask how people are and equally give genuine answers. This led me to the story of my encounter with my neighbour last week.

I ran into my elderly neighbour a couple of weeks ago and asked how she and her husband were doing. She said ‘fine but things are difficult’ – I asked her why and she mentioned that her husband was in the hospital. I empathised with her and said I would be back to chat with her about things as it was quite obvious she was rushing to get to the hospital for a visit with her husband.

Last week however, I realised that I hadn’t done anything about my neighbours answer and the Holy Spirit reminded me that I should do something; no matter how little. I went to my neighbour’s door only to realise that both husband and wife were now unwell, and bed bound. I was able to go in, spend some time with them both, encouraged them as much as I could before I left.

On my way out, their daughter thanked me for dropping in to spend a little bit of time with them and she said it’s the brightest her parents had been in about a week; though mum was in a lot of pain due to her surgery; she was able to sit up, chat with me; hence taking her mind off her pain.

I was very happy I gave enough attention to the answer the lady gave me when I asked how well she was doing. I was even much more excited about the fact that I decided to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit that told me to do something about the question I asked. I never knew the lady had an operation and was just recovering before I went to their door – but glad I did.

As I looked at these incidences, it crossed my mind that we need to develop a culture that helps us stop, and genuinely show interest, love and care.

Gods’ word says,

‘Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.’ Hebrews 13:2

Kindness or hospitality is something that can easily be forgotten when we get caught up in our busy lifestyles and schedules.

Busyness will never go away but stopping during our busyness to show kindness and hospitality to people is a great habit to develop so we can continue to be a blessing to others and in return, receive a blessing from above.

Do not forget – when you ask how people are doing, stop to hear their answer and act upon the answers. It is not always a rhetorical question. It is one that sometimes needs a response.

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