If I’m not very intentional, my life can turn into the Me Channel– all about me and mine 24/7. One of the ways I fight my tendency to be self-absorbed is to serve others. In John 13:35, Jesus says, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
I’m pretty sure Jesus also knows that I am a stay-at-home toddler mommy, which means my ability to go serve somewhere is limited to places that don’t mind her hollering and running around. The list is very short. But there are many things we can do to serve others during busy seasons of life that don’t require a lot of time, including these eight ideas:
- Pray for someone.
How often do you ask friends how you can pray for them? I usually have so little time to chat when I see friends that we only cover the surface things going on in our lives. I’m trying to be intentional about asking friends how I can pray for them and doing it aloud right then if I can.
- Hold door for someone.
This is a small thing to do but is so appreciated by all of us who regularly deal with being cut off in traffic, rude customer service reps and unappreciative bosses.
- Send card.
In the world of texts and emails, handwritten notes are practically extinct. But who doesn’t get excited about receiving fun mail? It only takes a few minutes to write a quick note to a friend who needs encouragement, grandparent you haven’t seen in a while or someone going through a tough time.
- Buy someone’s lunch, groceries or coffee.
Want to change someone’s day? Just pick up the tab for them. And you’ll likely start a chain reaction when they pay for someone else.
- Take someone a meal.
Who wouldn’t appreciate a hot meal? New moms, those who just moved into a new home or someone who’s sick would all be blessed with this gift. And if you just double a recipe that you’re already making for your family, it’s not that much added work.
- Babysit a friend’s kids.
Recognize when your friend is living on the edge and needs a helping hand. A couple of hours of free time to relax can make your girl friend feel like a new woman, ready to tackle life again.
- Tip a good server well.
Servers receive a lot more unreasonable requests and complaints than they do praise. Theirs is a tough job, so when you have a great server, tip him or her well and leave them an encouraging note on the receipt.
- Put away the trash cans on your street.
There is an elderly man on my street that rolls our empty trash can back up the driveway each Friday. He blesses me so, since my trips outside usually involve packing a near-30 lb. child.
But the most important thing is to serve others out of love, not out of a “should do” heart. It’s hard to spread joy to someone when you help them out of a sense of obligation.
What other ideas do you have to serve when you are short on time? What works for your family?