We have become a society that shies away from getting involved with other people and their lives. Sure, we know them … but do we really? The majority of our interactions today are in the electronic world. In the real world we’re too busy looking at the window of our various devices and never really see what’s going on around us.
Take a moment, look around. Think about that elderly family member, or the neighbor down the street and give them a call just to say hello. Instead of hurrying past the person struggling to load their groceries into their car, offer to give them a hand. Open the door for the person coming in just after you. Smile at the cashier, read her name tag and thank her personally. When we are kind, respectful and loving towards others – even strangers – we bring joy into their lives. When we look someone in the eye and smile while we speak with them, we are telling them they matter – they are important too.
Remember that friend you ran into at the grocery store the other day and had the odd feeling that something was off? When you asked how she’s been, her response was the usual “everything is fine” but her smile was half-hearted and didn’t reach her eyes. You nodded, gave her a brief hug and went on about your day, ignoring that not quite right feeling. By the end of the day, you remembered the encounter briefly, but that nagging odd feeling had a little less sting.
Or how about the young family with the sick child and tons of doctor appointments. You know their struggle is taking every ounce of energy they have, and you could see that they are just barely holding it together, but you voiced some nicety, smiled, and again went on about your day letting this fade into memory.
Christ calls us to love our neighbors. Throughout the New Testament we are shown examples of how he helped others in need, even when he had very little to give. He taught his disciples that they were not too important to kneel and was the feet of another. It is how we live our lives that sets the Christian apart. The most treasured gift doesn’t come wrapped in fancy paper, it comes from your heart.
That friend that seemed a bit off? Ask her to join you for coffee and spend some real time with her. Tell her you sensed that she is going through something, and you are there for her. Let the conversation be all about her. You’ll be surprised how much impact just that little bit of love can have.
The struggling young family? Take an hour or so and make them a couple meals to put in the frig to have ready after a stressful day. Or offer to watch their other children, or run some errands for them to take a little pressure off. Just that little bit of your time and resource will be an immeasurable blessing for them.
Give from your heart. Give of your time. Make it personal. It’s the little things that shine the brightest light into a dark world. When we serve others, we are serving Christ.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40