One of the most popular forms of ministry today is the ministry that makes a big splash, garners a lot of attention, and possibly gets reported in the news.
And while good does come from “Go Big” forms of ministry, there are other ways to love others like Jesus. If we think the big splash ministry is the only way to minister, then we will ignore all the small, effective, practical ways of loving others that might actually make more tangible and lasting impact on the lives of others for the Kingdom of God. This is partly why Jesus spoke of giving a cup of cold water in His name (Matt 10:42) and liked the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed (Matt 13;31-32).
It is often the small, easy, cheap, affordable, insignificant, simple acts of love and kindness that do the most to help people experience the love of Jesus through your life.
What sort of things? Below are 14 practical ways to love others like Jesus. There are thousands of such ways, but the following are 14 of the things that my family does to try to show love to others. They are not things you necessarily have to do, but are simply offered as examples.
If we want to simply love others, then we can love others simply.
Please feel free to share some of your own suggestions in the comments below.
14 Ways to Love Others Like Jesus
- Love the person right in front of you. There is so much pain and loneliness in the world, you can be pretty sure the person next to on the bus or the checker at the grocery store could use a kind word, a smile, or a helping hand. Get off your cell phone and talk to them. Get to know them. Ask them how their day is going… and mean it. Remember their name.
- Take food to your neighbors. Like what? Nothing fancy… a plate of cookies, a loaf of fresh-baked bread. When you give it to them, don’t drop it in their arms and run. Stand and talk for a bit if they seem to want that. Don’t invite yourself in and don’t invite them to church. Just be friendly.
- Have neighbors over for dinner or dessert. Don’t make it formal or fancy. Just pizza and pop. Or BBQ and beer. Don’t try to turn it into a Bible study. Just laugh, tell stories, and listen.
- Hand out homeless bags to people you see on the street. We carry 2-3 bags around in our car and hand out them out when we see people begging on street corners. The ones we hand out contain a tarp, a pair of socks, some non-perishable food, a bottle of water, a scarf, and whatever else we can find.
- Watch the children of single mothers so they can go shopping alone. Or, men, offer watch all the kids so your wife and the other woman can go get some coffee and chat.
- Take up gardening so you can talk to your neighbor who is all alone.
- When you take your kids to activities, don’t retreat to your car and listen to the radio or text on your cell phone. Stick around and talk with any other parents who are there.
- Do the Twelve Days of Christmas for a friend or neighbor. What is this? It’s Twelve Days of “Secret Santa.” Every day, you sneak over, leave a gift or present on their doorstep, ring the bell, and run! If you have children, they LOVE doing this around Christmas time.
- Put together Shoe Boxes with Samaritan’s Purse.
- Help raise money to rescue girls in slavery. Sell candy or treats, not for a band trip to Hawaii, but to raise money to rescue girls from slavery or some other human need.
- Help a missionary family overseas by doing things they cannot do where they are. Download podcasts and load hundreds of them on a CD and send it to them. Help them set up and run a blog. Send them clothes and crafts they cannot get overseas.
- Pack and deliver boxes of food and presents on Christmas Eve to families in the community that are less fortunate. Just give them the presents. No gospel tracts.
- Volunteer to help feed the poor and homeless in your area. Bring crafts to do with the children.
- Buy food for a homeless person on the street, and then sit and talk with them while they eat (If they don’t mind). Hug them!
The bottom line is that simple (not big and glorious) acts of kindness are effective ways of loving others like Jesus. None of these are glamorous. None of them will get you recognized in church. None of them will get you interviewed on television, BUT they don’t cost an arm and a leg and they won’t burn you out either. They are just simple ways to be kind every day to friends and strangers so that we can offer light and love and hope to the people around us.
Oh…. And please, please, please, do not ever do any of these things with the intention or goal of getting people to attend your church. This is where most Christians screw it up BIG TIME. If we go help our neighbor mow his lawn because he broke his leg, and then after you’re done you invite him to church, he is going to know that you don’t really care about him at all. All you really care about is getting his butt in a pew on Sunday morning so you can brag to all your Christian friends about how you mowed his lawn and rescued him from the fires of hell.
As I have said before, Christian love does not consist in asking someone to come to church with you. If your only reason for loving people is to get them into church, just stay home and watch TV.