We drove down the street like every other day, waved to the neighbors and headed on our way. Later, in the grocery store, we talked politely with the clerk before thanking her and heading out the door. Together, we stopped at the restaurant, ate a quick lunch, and tipped the waiter according to the number of times he refilled our soda glasses. We passed by the man wandering the streets on our way home. We glanced at his sign and contemplated the story written there. Our compassion extended just long enough for the light to turn green, and we raced back through our neighborhood, waved at the neighbor again, and locked ourselves discreetly away in front of the T.V. for a quiet evening.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what a Christian should like. We know the Bible calls us to love, but we consider “what-every-other-decent-human-does” enough. I think our calling is greater. We were never called to be average.
Proverbs 3 creates a picture of what a Christian should look like, and in its description of someone filled with wisdom and kindness it states:
Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it.”
Jesus himself said:
Love your neighbor as yourself. –Mark 12:31
And in 1 John 3, it states:
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. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
So after considering how we normally act, I pondered how I could better love people. The answers are surprisingly simple but here are just a few ideas.
1. Make dinner for a neighbor (more than once).
2. Help someone pay for their groceries. Provide a brief invitation to church.
3. Give extra to your church.
4. Give to other non-profits, especially those that share Christ with the group they reach.
5. Offer to help mow a lawn, rake leaves, shovel a driveway.
6. Invite others to your home, neighbors, co-workers, and friends from church.
7. Offer to help someone move.
8. Volunteer at church in multiple facets.
9. Lend a listening ear to someone who is lonely at a nursing home.
10. Pray for a waiting child on photolisting.
11. Consider helping a family with the cost of adoption.
12. Mentor a teenager.
13. Build a friendship with someone who has few friends.
14. Pray for God to show you how to love each day.
My favorite verse says to live a life worthy of the calling we have received. In 2 Corinthians, we’re told we are ambassadors of Christ. As such, I want to love like He loved. I want to love deeper, to love more. I think we have the potential to reach our world, but only if we change our habits. Will we love others in a way that stands out and makes a difference, or will we blend in as somewhat-decent-average-joes?