15 Practical Ideas to Love Generously

 

15 Practical Ideas to Love Generously

Winds blew.

Waves crashed.

My family and I huddled together, uncertain what waited for us in the days following Hurricane Isabel.

After the storm blew over, downed trees littered roadways. Branches tumbled through neighborhoods resembling lightweight pieces of prarie grass, settling wherever their little heart desired. Awnings, signs, and other structures lay mangled in a wild mess of uncertainty.

And likely the most impacting – Virginia Beach’s electricity clicked off and stayed off for five rather toasty and sweaty, early September days.

I recall it well.

Amid the mess, something good came.

Folks, fleeing the heat and humidity offered inside structures, fled outdoors.

For the first time in years, people neighbored – truly neighbored.

Kids laughed, ran, and played. Parents communicated, shared, helped, talked, and neighbored with each other like no other time I’d seen. Perhaps before the days of air conditioning and the vast offering of electronic entertainment this was the norm. But in our time and age, it proved the exception to the rule.

But the minute the electricity flickered on – and I mean “the minute” because I recall it well, people hustled inside, holed up once again amid their four walls. Neighboring, as Isabel allowed us to know it, came to an end.

Electric crackles in the parts of the world from which you’re reading this. Mine too. But neighboring doesn’t have to cease.

We’re targeting neighbors this month – with love. We’re overcoming evil with good. Week 1 sits here. Today, we dive into week 2.

Here are 15 ideas to implement as we overcome evil with good, loving our neighbors well.

1. Say Hello

Sounds simple, but an intentional “hello” to neighbors or even strangers often goes a long way and sometimes even opens ministry doors.

2.  Open a Door

I love it when our boys open doors. The array of responses they receive is wide, but rest assured they’re always coated with thankfulness.

3. Send a Card or Write a Letter

Who doesn’t appreciate a little love in the mailbox? Or, try a free e-card as well. Take those extra 5 or 10 minutes to reach out.

4. Take those Flowers – Visit

Pretend the a/c sits off. Hustle on out there and sit with a friend – whether young, old, widowed, or unable to get out. Take some flowers, music, or food. Most appreciate the effort.

5. Pray – Right Then and There

It’s easy to say, “I’ll pray for you,” then forget. I’ve done it myself more times than I’d like to admit. One thing resolves the problem: praying right then and there. If it’s a response on Facebook, pray before responding. If it’s a need that arises during a phone or in-person conversation, offer to pray right then. Maybe it’s a subject or situation that causes the nose to crinkle. Uncrinkle and pray. Do something about it – take to God Almighty. 😉

6. Volunteer

Opportunities overflow. Our busy family schedule found 1 Sunday/month a good fit. We journeyed down to the Salvation Army and served a solid Sunday breakfast. Serving food isn’t the only option. Pregnancy crisis center opportunities exist, so do local food pantries, individual church outreaches, reading to kids, or offering time at an assisted living facility.

7. Retrieve the Trash Can

Something as simple as bringing the trash can up the house can slather love on a neighbor, not to mention it affords kids an opportunity to help.

8. Reach Out to New Neighbors

Our toughest move was to a civilian community after my husband retired from the military. Folks simply didn’t swing by to shake a hand or offer a hello. And for me, working from home, it became lonely. Why not bake a plate of cookies or gather some fruit and swing by to welcome that new neighbor? Throw a summer cookout or front yard potluck. It might open unexpected doors in a good and God way.

 9. Print and Hand Out Cards

I gathered the idea from a fellow military family and loved it so much, that I mimicked their idea. Print business cards with family member names and contact information. When new neighbors move in or you encounter someone new at church or in the community, you’ll have instant contact information to hand them. It makes staying in contact easy.

 

 

  10. Deliver or Create Your Own Food Bank

Friend, Tammy, and her family have helped create and stock these little neighborhood food pantries – similar to mini-neighborhood libraries. How cool are they?!

11. Pay It Forward

Ever been the recipient of a “pay it forward?” Sweet! Try it at drive-thrus, toll booths, ticket stands and more.

12. Pick Up the Phone

Text is easy. Try a real phone conversation, too. Many folks love to hear from others. Why not give the opporutnity to enjoy a phone-filled conversation?

13. Extend the Invitation

It’s easy to live in our own, little world, isn’t it? I’m there far too often, all by my lonely little self. But where’s the love? Intentional outreaches, extending an invite to dinner, a party, a hike, or sports game, or something similar might just what the love doctor ordered to combat lonliness or misunderstanding.

14. Be Intentional with Words

Find someone to thank or compliment daily. It’s amazing the bang for the buck kind syllables gather.

15. Find the Good

Critical or blaming thoughts run to the scene easily, don’t they? Why not toss the blame and bury the criticalness, finding the good in situations instead? Express those to others, offer them to God. Then see what happens.

15 Practical Ideas to Love Generously - find 'em here. #loveyourneighbor Click To Tweet

Stay tuned next week. We’ll have a printable available for use. In the meantime, here’s our action steps for the week:

  1. Pray over these opportunities and any others that come to mind.

  2. Take that step, reach out and love generously.

  3. Post about it on social media with #loveyourneighbor. (Pictures are great too.)

  4. Comment here with your thoughts and ideas. We’d love to hear!

Linking with other Jesus lovers here: #chasingcommunity,#salt&light, #faithonfire
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19 Comments

  1. Kristi … this is so great! Over time, most of us seem to have closeted ourselves away, out of sight, out of connection, out of contact.

    Your ideas are practical and needed. #10 and #14 are grabbing right about now.

    Blessings to you, girl!

  2. Great ideas! Last week I took a few homemade cookies to a neighbor I met at a neighborhood coffee gathering. I added a note with my contact information and left it on her doorstep because she wasn’t home. This week she called to say hello and we’re going to meet in person for coffee next week. A simple step of building community.

    1. Lovely idea, Debbie! As one who has moved often, I can assure you those cookies offered a beautiful touch of neighborly love.

  3. What a thorough list. I felt like I had a comment for each one of them, almost. Isn’t it sad how distant we are anymore? Too bad that it takes a power outage, or the likes, to get us to mingle, sometimes. — An example that hits even closer to home for me — the power went out at our house once when I was a teen, and it was the first time I can remember our family just sitting around talking. I was sad when the power came back on. Good reminders to be intentional about community, friend. Thank you for sharing. xoxo

    1. You understand, Brenda. I have a feeling you’re pretty good about spreading the love. You love your neighbors well on social media, if that’s any indication. 😉 xo

  4. What a great list! Sometimes we need help to remember that this does not have to be complicated. Do for others what you would like to have done for you (Mt. 7:12).

  5. Hi Kristi. Your story mirrors one from a friend in my Bible study. She was in Florida with her daughter’s family when Hurricane Irma struck. The neighborhood gathered in one big home until the power was restored. Ever since then, my friend has been thinking about reaching out to others in new ways. You offer a powerful and important list here!

    1. I hope all is back to the new normal for your friend, Sarah. A hurricane will change a gal – sometimes for God’s glory and for the better. Glad to hear your friend is reaching out. 😉

  6. Great content, Kristi. I took the #5 opportunity today. It was a bit unconventional, though. An email was sent to a small group by one of my colleagues. This email requested us to remember a loved in prayer; one who is suffering from a setback for n the illness. Instead of responding with, “praying “ or “will do”, I wrote a prayer and clicked “send”. Reading your post feels like God’s whisper of , “Well done”. Thank you, Kristi.

  7. Kristi, I love this list and the fact that you are reminding us of the art of being a good neighbor. I especially like number one. Just saying hello can open so many doors.

    One thing I love about living in the Middle East is that my neighbors teach me how to do it!