On Sunday, Anthony talked about what it means to care for others, and how we must all play our part in doing so. “One person can’t care for all of us, but ALL of us can care for someone,” he said.
And yet, caring for one another – in good times and bad — isn’t always our default setting. Serving each other in that way usually requires a sacrifice – of time, energy and what we’re comfortable with. It requires us to put someone else’s needs above our own.
But it also doesn’t need to feel sacrificial. Oftentimes, the first step is just being more intentional about serving the people around us. Here are a few simple ways to do just that.
1). Random acts of kindness
One of the most effective ways to care for someone is to do something they’re not expecting. Anthony has talked about this in previous blog posts about random acts of kindness. Doing something like handing someone a cold bottle of water of a hot day or leaving an above-average tip can make that person feel the same way God feels about them – that they are valued.
If you’re interested in trying it out, Hoboken Grace has a team dedicated to this very idea. The Simple Service Team hands out granola bars at the PATH, serves free popcorn doing Movies Under the Stars – anything to elicit a smile and show someone a glimpse of God’s love for them. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
There are countless ways you can practice this on your own as well. Get to know your local barista and use their name when you see them. Offer to babysit for that busy mom you know. Pay for someone’s coffee or their meal. The possibilities are endless.
It’s easy to tell someone you’ll pray for them. But remembering to actually do it? That’s much harder. As Anthony said on Sunday, it helps to simply pray for that person on the spot.
Another way to remember to pray for someone is to have a set time each day when you’ll pray for different people in your life. Maybe you pray for your coworkers on Mondays, your dinner group on Tuesdays, your family on Wednesdays, your friends on Thursdays and anyone/anything else you’ve been thinking about on Fridays (or a similar variation, such as the one suggested as part of Hoboken Grace’s Rhythms). In keeping a consistent schedule, those people you’ve said you’ll pray for will likely come to mind.
3). Act more like family
Another simple way to care for someone is to help them feel less alone. You can do this by introducing yourself to someone at a connection event, sitting next to someone who’s sitting on their own at church, or just reaching out to someone who seems like they could use a friend.
You can also join the new care ministry Anthony mentioned on Sunday. The team he’s launching will serve members of our church family in times of need, which might mean visiting people in the hospital or helping those planning weddings and funerals.
“Care ministry is all about how do we love others well and take care of our family well, so they can, in turn, love others,” Anthony said in a recent interview about the ministry.
4). Listen well
One of the most effective ways we can care for someone is by simply listening to them. Pastor Chris talked about this a few weeks ago during the Love Project series. People feel loved when you hear them out – about how they’re feeling, what they’re going through and where they’re coming from.
But listening well doesn’t always come naturally. Oftentimes, it’s something we must be intentional about. Dinner groups and connection events are a great place to do that.
5). Lend someone your strengths
Caring for one another means lending someone your strengths. And if you know what comes easily to you, caring for others will likely feel more fulfilling than draining – especially if you’re an introvert.
Think about what comes naturally to you. Maybe you’re great at cooking, or babysitting, or planning events. A friend of mine is great at making cards. Another has a knack for checking up on people over text message. As for me, I love helping friends edit their résumé when they’re job hunting. While something that comes easily to you might not seem like a huge effort, it can make all the difference for someone else.
So how will you care for someone this week?
Brittney leads the Writing Team at Hoboken Grace.