*Disclaimer: At the time of posting this blog, these ideas align with government guidelines, we understand however, that recommendations for safety change daily, therefore, check with your local authorities before moving forward with these ideas.
Unprecedented times call for an unprecedented response.
Luke 10 describes Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. At the end of the story, Jesus poses the question:
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10: 36-37)
In this parable, Jesus taught that a neighbor isn’t a specific person, rather it is a role we’re invited to fill. Jesus called his followers to live a lifestyle of service. Being a neighbor means we can “Go and do likewise”. But what does that look like right now? We are in a global pandemic. We are told to stay home and socially distance from others.
Now, more than ever is the time for Christians to be the Church. Here are a few creative ways to serve.
Serve your Family.
The Good Samaritan in Jesus’ story cared for the person is his path. For the foreseeable future, your family or the people you live with, are the ones in your path. Intentionally change your mindset to see the value in serving your family. Here are a few ideas:
- Cultivate joy! Serve your family by intentionally lifting their spirits with something fun or meaningful. Defer to an activity a family member enjoys or put on a fun playlist while cooking. Joy is infectious!
- Serve with your hands. Tangibly serve your family with a hands-on project—rake the yard, cook a meal, clean the bathroom.
- Tune in, not out. Your family is important! View this time stuck at home as a blessing to engage with your family in new and different ways. It is easy to find distractions on your phone or TV but choose to intentionally interact rather than simply coexist.
Serve with Encouragement.
Drop kindness like confetti to those near and far.
- Write a letter. Or postcard, email or text. The point is to go out of your way to let someone know you are thinking of them and checking in on their well-being.
- Create visual encouragement. Break out that sidewalk chalk and write some words on the sidewalk near your home. It could mean a lot to someone to see words like “we can do this” and “there is hope”. You could also create signs for your windows with similar messages.
- Utilize Social Media. Record a devotional thought and post it to your Facebook page. Share a fun throwback photo. Post a link to your church’s weekly online message. Use this platform to care, rather than scare.
- Have Fun & Be Creative. Leave a singing voicemail, rehang Christmas lights, play worship music from your deck, smile and wave to pedestrians… There are endless ways to radiate love for others through laughter and fun.
Serve Local Neighbors
Keep a pulse on the need. Use resources like the Nextdoor app or community Facebook groups to stay up to date on the needs of others in your direct community. If you see a need, be the person to fill that need!
- Little Free Library. Fill these little boxes around your neighborhood. Depending on the need, fill them with books for kid’s literacy, food items, toiletries, etc.
*For those living near Colin L. Powell Elementary in Centreville, there is a cute one near the school’s main entrance. Maybe you can make a temporary one in front of your house? Get creative! Here is a link to start your own.
Serve Through Generous Giving
Many service-focused nonprofit organizations have a higher demand for their services, with potentially less funding than they have ever had. If you are able, consider giving!
- Food Insecurity Services. With schools moving to distance learning, there is a need for food for kids. Consider financially supporting backpack food programs or other organizations in your area working to address food insecurity needs for both kids and adults.
- Support where you already serve. For the next few weeks, many organizations are unable to take volunteer groups. If your church usually serves an organization in person, consider switching to a financial gift for this month.
- Social Service Organizations. Consider sending your financial gifts to organizations that directly work with the hurting or marginalized in your community. This could include organizations that serve the homeless population, domestic violence survivors, senior citizens, etc.
In the past few weeks, so much has changed but take heart, a few things will never change:
- God loves you and your neighbors.
- God is faithful.
- We are called to represent Jesus in this world.
In a time where we can’t go anywhere, there is plenty we can do.