Saturday, November 7, 2009

10 Ways to Love Your Neighbor

Loving your neighbor doesn't require a huge bank account or selling your possessions and moving to the desert (unless, of course, God is calling you to do that).

Here are practical ways you can love your neighbors:

1. Write a note. In these days of electronic communication, receiving a handwritten note is a rare treat. Today, ask God to bring to mind someone who could use a little encouragement. Then take a few minutes to jot a quick note or postcard and drop it in the mail, just letting that person know you're thinking about them.

2. Give blood. The American Red Cross estimates that "every two seconds someone in America needs blood" and over 4 million Americans donate to the cause. To learn more about donating blood visit your local American Red Cross. (Also mark your calendars for Saturday, February 13th. Heavenview will partner with the Red Cross again this year... Have a Heart! Give Blood.)

3. Clean out the garage. No doubt you've got a garage or basement full of stuff you've been meaning to get rid of. Consider having a garage sale and donating the proceeds to a local charity, food pantry or ministry. You can also donate the goods to organizations like the Salvation Army or Volunteers of America.

4. Adopt a soldier. Even if don't know anyone serving in the military you can send a letter that will be distributed to soldiers longing for a word from home. lists military members serving overseas who are willing to accept mail and distribute it to troops who don't have family. You can send something one time, or write regularly to a soldier. While you might not get a personal response (although often the military member who's agreed to receive and distribute the packages will post an update online), you can be sure that your letters and packages encourage the men and women fighting far from home.

5. Volunteer at a local school. Griffith Alternative School is looking for volunteers to make a difference in the lives of the students. Sign up by contacting Christie.

6. Wait a minute. This is an easy way to show love and kindness: the next time you're out shopping, let the person behind you in line go first. They won't expect your willingness to wait a few minutes, and you'll both feel a little better for the random act of kindness.

7. Buy someone a meal. I recently went through a drive-thru and thought that I would do something nice for the person behind me in line. After paying for my meal, I asked the cashier how much the guy's meal was in the car behind me - and I paid for it. I left a church card with the cashier to keep and another one to give to the guy - in case he wondered why I did what I did. I wanted him to know that I have the love of Christ at work in me.

8. Bake a double batch. Next time you're whipping up a batch of cookies - even if you're using a pre-packaged mix - double the batch and bring the extras to a neighbor. You don't have to have a reason to share!

9. Mow your neighbor's lawn. Chances are there's someone in your neighborhood who would be delighted to have their lawn mowed for them. Maybe it's someone who isn't physically able to do it themselves or a family whose mom or dad is serving in the military. (Really, who wouldn't love to have someone else mow their lawn?) When you fire up your own mower, take some time to take care of the chore for a neighbor.

10. Stay the night at a local Homeless Shelter. The Samaritan Ministries is always looking for volunteers to staff their overnight shelter. If you are interested in volunteering and showing love to our neighbors, contact Christie.

Why wait until January 9th, 2010 to start? You can start right now.

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