The concept of serving has always been close to my heart. It’s been a part of my life since I was a little kid. I have always enjoyed the experience of doing something significant—or seemingly not so significant—simply from a place of love and a desire to encourage someone.
It’s that time again: time for this week’s installment of the Saturday Serving Spotlight.
As of this spring, we have been in our current house for seven years. In the neighborhood in which we lived before moving here, there wasn’t much interaction among neighbors. So, we didn’t expect anything different in our new neighborhood. We were prepared, though, to create the kind of environment we had wanted in our previous neighborhood. When we arrived, we found a very different environment. People were friendly. They enjoyed spending time together.
Even though the folks on our cul-de-sac were already close, my wife Kelly took the social climate of our neighborhood to a whole new level. She has served our neighbors in some very natural, thoughtful, and loving ways. The following list contains several of the acts of service I’ve observed her performing for our neighbors over the years:
1. Grow a garden and share the produce. Fresh produce is wonderful. An armful of fresh tomatoes is a great excuse to knock on a door and strike up a conversation.
2. Mow their yard. Unless they’re extremely picky about their turf, there aren’t too many people who would turn down a mowing.
3. Become the official neighborhood Popsicle provider. Head outside on a hot day with a box of frozen Popsicles for the kids (and adults). Hot chocolate produces the same effect on a cold winter day.
4. Place their newspaper on their doorstep. If you’re an early morning paper person and notice their paper sitting in their driveway, walk it up closer to their doorstep.
5. Loan your tools. Be the first to visit when do-it-yourself projects are happening around the neighborhood. Save your neighbor a trip to Lowe’s by loaning a tool or two.
6. Rake their leaves, not just the ones that fall in your yard. You don’t have to rake the whole yard. At least venture way past your property line to save your neighbors some work.
7. Give their dog a treat. Instead of complaining when Fido does his thing in your yard, keep a bucket of doggie treats in the garage to turn unwanted intrusions into opportunities for graciousness and conversation.
8. Shovel their driveway and walkways. Sure, it’s a lot of work. But, it’s worth it. For all you machinery junkies, it’s even more fun (and faster) if you have a snow blower.
9. Throw a party. Become the social coordinator. There are lots of reasons to get together for a party—sporting events, holidays, seasonal celebrations, new neighbors. If you can get your neighbors together you’ll be in for a good time and some great food.
10. Help with a house project. Volunteer your services. If there’s a room that needs to be painted, help out. If the bushes need a trim, grab your clippers and start chopping.
Serving our neighbors makes sense for a lot of reasons. It makes the neighborhood a friendlier place. It meets real needs. It breaks the ice and helps us get to know the people around us. And, perhaps most significantly, it gives us opportunities to share Christ’s love with people who need it.
Next time you’re in front of your house, look around. Who could use your help?