Serving and loving people is a doorway to their hearts. But that should not be our motive for loving them. Rather, we love people because Christ who lives in us loves them.
In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus commands us to make disciples of all nations. In the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:25-40), He tells us to love them. We will struggle to make disciples if we do not practically love people first.
Jesus tells us that we are to love others as we love ourselves. People who do not love themselves – who function from a place of insecurity and self-rejection – cannot truly love others. The danger is that we can easily take the place of God in other people’s lives and feel good about it!
Motive is everything. Make sure yours is true.
What you can do as an individual
- Meet new neighbors with food and a card with your name, address, and phone number.
- Take a meal to sick neighbors or to new parents.
- Express interest in a neighbor’s hobby; offer to help them if you have expertise. Ask them to teach you, if it is something new to you.
- Watch your neighbor‘s children to give the parents a chance for some time alone.
- Visit people who are sick or housebound. Take them food or something to read. If you have children, consider taking them with you when you visit older people.
- If you are new in the community, ask people to suggest places of interest to visit, and then invite them to come with you to explore them.
- Bring together a group of children to play (invite their mothers, too).
- If a neighbor is passing by, invite him/her in, even if things are not as neat as you would like.
- Spend a morning helping someone do things he needs to do.
- If you are cooking something special, make an extra amount to give to a neighbor.
- Host a holiday party at your home and invite neighbors. They will get to know each other, as you get to know them.
- Plan sporting events, games, picnics, or other activities that draw the neighborhood together.
- Help them with work in their garden or field.
- If you have transportation, offer to give a ride.
- Offer to pick up something at the market for them.
- Walk through your neighborhood and greet people you see. Engage them in conversation, if they have time.
Suggestions for Caring as a Group, Church or Fellowship
Some acts of kindness are done one-on-one, as you meet people. But sometimes group of believers can do acts of kindness and service together. This can open up doors of ministry to the whole community. If you are forming or seeking to form a small group in a new area, what are some things you might do to meet some specific needs of that community?
- Mobilize people to clean up unsightly sections of the community.
- Offer a program that teaches people how to speak English.
- Hold a sports clinic for youth in the most popular sport in the community.
- Organize programs to help people with business or educational needs.
- Meet with community leaders and offer to help in areas where they express need.