What comes to mind when you hear the words “serve one another”? Is it accompanied by the words “arduous”, “tiring”, and “can’t be bothered”?
Yes, it can be hard work to make time in our busy schedules to serve our church, neighbors, colleagues, or friends. However, the call to serve one another is essential to our Christian lives. Jesus Himself served and called us to do the same (Luke 22:25-27).
Serving others doesn’t have to be a grand affair. It can be simple! Here are 5 ideas to get you started:
1. Serve where needed
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4).
Churches are often strapped for volunteers. The thing is, our weeks are busy as they are, and most of us are probably reluctant to add the extra few hours (or if it’s a bigger church, our entire day) to serve.
But volunteering comes with a host of benefits. Depending on which area you’re serving in at church, you could lead a group of youths for Christ, or simply giving a stressed-out parent a much needed two-hour break as you look after their child. So let’s practice putting the interests of our fellow brothers and sisters before our own and get to serving in church!
2. Brighten someone’s day
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
She’s the single mum struggling to pay her grocery bills. He’s the frail neighbor who needs help with his overgrown garden. It is all too easy to brush these people away, but the needs and struggles of our community are everywhere if we look closely enough.
Why not step in to pay for all or part of her groceries? While you’re at it, round up a few green-thumbed friends who are able to give the elderly gentleman’s garden a refresh. Not only do these simple acts brighten someone’s day, it also brings glory to God.
3. Intentionally pray with someone
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people (Ephesians 6:18).
Offering to pray for someone can sometimes seem like a cop-out—a throwaway comment to make someone feel better. But nothing can be further away from the truth! When someone has had a few tough long months, there is great relief and comfort in knowing there is a friend who is able to come alongside them to pray with them.
Let’s try taking time to intentionally pray with someone, joining with them in powerful unity to invite God to come and work in their situation.
4. Take friendship offline
Two are better than one[…] If either of them falls down, one can help the other up (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a).
“Befriending” someone on social media is as simple as a click of a button.
Pressing “like” or “love” can also give the appearance that we’re a part of our friends’ lives—even if we haven’t spoken to some of them in 10 years.
While social media gives lots of opportunity for digital connection, it’ll leave us longing for the satisfaction of real companionship.
What if we intentionally sought these “friends” out, and spend a coffee or lunch with them? Our intentional, real-life friendship and attention could mean the world to someone else. Who can we seek out today?
5. Be a cheerleader in someone’s life
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Many of us might have an inspirational quote or a motivational message pinned to our work station or recently shared on social media. Whether it’s keeping to our fitness goals, getting through a grueling work day, or even a hard year, these uplifting messages keep us going.
So why not consider how we can be an active cheerleader in someone else’s life? The simple act of lending a listening ear to a coworker, or speaking words of life and hope to someone who is having a tough week can go a long way in supporting and building them up. Let’s look around us to see the many opportunities we have to encourage the people we interact with on a daily basis!
As we serve our church, neighbors, colleagues, or friends, we reflect the love of Christ (John 15:12). And, it doesn’t have to be a massive affair. Quite often, it is the small acts that have a big impact.
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What’s a simple way you’ve found to serve others? Tell us in the comments below!