By Heidi Baumgartner, Washington Conference communication director


Bob apparently didn’t know the social code of a continental breakfast room where you near silently obtain and consume your food while reading the newspaper, scrolling your social feed, or listening to the morning news, and--you do your best not to look anyone in the eye!

Bob preferred to observe and talk over waffles, biscuits, and coffee. With anyone and everyone. It was fun to observe!

“How ‘bout that sports team?” he quipped when he saw a jersey or team hat before launching into friendly banter about team stats and player rosters.

“That’s a mighty cute baby, right there,” he said to a young family. “My grandson is three, and I love him to pieces. He’s coming to see me soon.”

An older gentleman came into the breakfast room and (unsuspectingly) sat down by himself right next to Bob’s table. Bob turned to him: “So…where did you grow up?” A whole new conversation launched, the folded newspaper was ignored, and a human-to-human connection happened.

With each interaction, the easy-going conversation brought a smile. It made the day seem a little brighter and lighter — for participants and observers. Bob was just doing his small part to bring joy to others and find the joy of community for himself – all while enjoying a morning waffle. I loved his example! I wanted to stay longer to watch, learn, and interact!

Contrast this to a different morning where a lady, let’s call her Henriette, decided to launch a sustainable green earth campaign in the same breakfast room. She cornered motel staff and guests alike, chastising individuals for using disposable plastic-ware while holding her own reusable cutlery, campaigning for individuals to write to their local leaders, and overall alienating the breakfast crowd that dispersed as quickly as possible. It wasn’t a fun environment to be in that morning.

Bob, whether he knew it or not, lived out Colossians 4:6 – let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt. Henriette, whose good cause was overshadowed by her abrasively salty approach, could have taken some lessons in gentle seasoning.

Colossians 3, fortunately, offers instructions for “Living as those made alive in Christ” for those of us who are trying to figure out how to be better community builders in our every day life. God’s chosen people, who are holy and dearly loved, are instructed to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Clothing oneself is something we do regularly. This isn’t a once-a-week or occasional act. These physical, mental and spiritual instructions are for our everyday life.

Here’s the challenge I’m giving myself each morning that you can adopt, too: seek to share a smile, open a conversation, offer a friendly gesture, take a bigger picture perspective (instead of jumping to conclusions), scatter kindness, and make someone’s day a little brighter and little better.

May whatever you do in word or deed be done in the name of the Lord Jesus in thanksgiving for how God the Father transformed your life (Colossians 3:17) to winsomely share with others you interact with throughout each day…starting with one conversation at a time over morning waffles.