As a former business major, I was drilled on the proper way to write a letter. From salutation through closing, all the parts had to be lined up in proper sequence on the page. It’s ironic how the days of computer emails and iphone texts have overtaken proper etiquette. Today the rule is to communicate quickly and abbreviate massively.
The New Testament is filled with letters to the churches, and Paul always greeted his readers with a lengthy salutation. Much more than a Gentlemen or Dear Sir, his salutation really got your attention. Like he writes in 1 Corinthians, “To the Church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy...” Kind of gets to the point with a powerful punch right from the onset! Can you imagine trying to text that to a friend!
The term salutation is derived from its root, salute. To salute someone is more than a greeting. It is often an expression of honor and submission. Think of how in the military an officer of rank is always respected with a salute. When the officer standing guard to the entrance of Air Force One salutes the President, he returns the greeting with a salute. The salute is a sign of both welcome and honor.
Every morning when I kneel to pray or open my Bible to partake of God’s Word to me, I am saluting the Creator and Maker of all things. Welcome into my world, Lord Jesus. I want you here. Please take over. You know the things that are on my plate today. I acknowledge you as I prepare my heart to walk in your ways. I commit the responsibilities of this day into your hands. I can’t do any of them without your help. I agree with you that you order my steps and give me the mind of Christ, so I will think your thoughts and walk on paths of righteousness. Your Word says you perfect those things that concern me. Will you please take care of those things I can do nothing about? Will you work them out for good? I submit to what you want to do in me and my circumstances. Will you intervene in the activities of my family’s life so we will fulfill your purpose for our lives? Will you do the impossible so everyone knows and sees that it was your hand that did it?
In the Hebrew, when we inquire or ask of the Lord it means more than seeking counsel. The definition also includes the term, salute. I love the picture this definition gives us. When we ask for the mind of Christ, we are saluting the Lord. When we acknowledge Him in all our ways, asking for His insight, we honor Him with a salute that puts Him on the throne of our lives. We then humble ourselves much as a military person would do when submitting himself to a higher authority. We welcome the Lord into our circumstances and honor Him as Lord of all when we inquire of Him. Stop a minute and ask yourself, who are you saluting today. It might be self. It might be other people. Let’s do an about-face and salute the Creator and Maker of all things. Remember the government is on His shoulders, so why not welcome Him into your circumstances and honor His lordship. That one humble salute could change your life forever.