Most people agree that those who are most fulfilled are those who are intentional about serving others. We were designed that way – created to live in community. Blessed, so that we might be a blessing. I don’t believe that we can earn God’s love. However, there is something about loving people in practical ways that aligns our heart with His and allows us to experience the joy of being like Jesus. Here are a few small ways to touch the people around you:
1. Send a text message to someone who may need encouragement. It’s fun to take a moment and ask yourself (and Holy Spirit) who could use some encouragement. Then, send a simple text letting them know that you’re thinking about them. Let them know what you appreciate about them. It doesn’t need to be someone who is “in crisis”. Everyone needs encouragement, even when they’re doing well.
2. Take someone in your neighborhood a gift, just because. We live in an age when many of us live beside the same people for years and never actually “meet” them. In our last house, we had numerous interactions with the neighbors on our right but most had something to do with asking the other to move their vehicle because it was blocking the driveway. I told Anna, “we should bring them some cookies or something” (which was code for, “you should bake some cookies so that I can bring them next door”). Hey, my heart was right! Unfortunately, those neighbors moved before they got to taste “our” baking. However, our neighbors on the left have tasted it several times. It’s fun to make someone smile and feel appreciated.
3. Show interest in people. I remember leaving conversations thinking, “wow, I talked a lot about me and didn’t ask very much about them”. A good way to value people is to listen. It’s not that we shouldn’t have normal conversation and share things that are happening with us, but let’s be conscious about leaving room for the other person to share about themselves as well.
4. Pay for a stranger’s coffee. If you go through a Starbuck’s drive through, let the employee at the window know that you want to pay for yours as well as the person’s behind you. They might not know who you are and they may never be able to thank you. Your reward? You got to bless someone in some small way.
5. Have some nonperishable food and drinks in your car to hand out to people who may need it. I remember hearing that John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard church planting movement used to have a bag of groceries in his car at all times. That way, when he saw someone in need he could meet their need in a small, tangible way. When Anna and I started seeing a fair amount of people asking for food or money on street corners in our city, Anna went to Costco and bought a large box of granola bars and a case of vitamin water. Then, whether we were in Redding, Sacramento or wherever we had something to give to people. It’s not much, but I would rather do something even if it’s small. You don’t have to use the same ideas that I mentioned, but you’re welcome to. You may have some better ideas – ideas that work well for you.
We love because He first loved us. Let’s display that love in a tangible way.
“I’ll be your heart to the ones I meet
I’ll show Your love to the least of these
I would have never known, if You didn’t first love me
I’ll learn to love when I’m your hands and feet”.
– Michael Ketterer and United Pursuit