Valentine’s Day is just a couple of weeks away. While I’m not a huge fan of commercialized holidays or mass-produced pink and red symbols of romantic love, I do appreciate the reminder to express love. I’ve been meditating this week specifically on love for my neighbors.
Note the manifestations of love identified in 1 John 3:16-18:
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
These verses teach us that “talking the talk” isn’t satisfactory. In reality, true love is manifested with actions. I need to be more intentional about showing love to my neighbors and to other people I encounter in my community. Do you feel this same way?
I’ve compiled a list of simple ways that I can serve my neighbors. I hope you’ll join me in implementing a few of these over the next few weeks.
Ways to love our neighbors
- Anonymously give a grocery store gift card to a family you know is struggling financially.
- Drive an elderly neighbor to the grocery store and shop with him or her.
- Shovel your neighbor’s sidewalk the next time it snows.
- Send a thank you card to your child’s teacher.
- Start a walking group.
- Prayer walk through your neighborhood. Take a trash bag with you and pick up litter.
- Participate in HOA functions.
- Smile and thank your cashier at the grocery store.
- Make a scarf and give it to an individual who is homeless. Pray for the recipient while you make the scarf and attach to it a note that says something like “You’re wrapped in my prayers.”
- Send a thank you note to the local police station or firehouse.
- Let people go in front of you in the checkout line at the grocery store.
- Make every effort to avoid gossip at the office (or at church, playgroups, parties, etc.). Speak highly of others and be a voice of encouragement and thanksgiving instead.
- Go out of your way to talk with janitors and housekeeping staff who are often overlooked.
- Volunteer at a local food pantry or homeless shelter.
- Donate blood.
- Host a sports game watching party and invite your neighbors.
- Take cookies or some other treat to the families next door and across the street.
- Grow a garden and give some of the produce to your neighbors.
- Pay for the meal of the person behind you in the line at the drive-through window.
- Leave a large tip for your waiter or waitress.
This list is not exhaustive, but I hope it contains sufficient ideas to get all of us thinking about ways we can love the individuals in our respective communities.
What additional ideas can you add to the list?