The Bible invites us to love our neighbors and tells us that this is one of the most important commandments. Through proximity, we have the privilege to connect and share our life with the people who live closest to us. Here are ten practical ways to share love and make connections with those in your community.
1. Learn Your Neighbors’ Names
It’s easy to rush through the hustle and bustle of the day. Be intentional to take a minute to stop and see those people whose paths you cross each day. Start by learning your neighbors’ names. Learning someone’s name is not only is a great way to begin a relationship, but it is also a way to show dignity and kindness to our neighbors.
2. Listen and Learn
Names are a great beginning, and it’s beautiful to watch relationships grow from there. Ask questions, learn someone’s story, and pay attention. Whether you’re someone who’s drawn to talking or someone who tends to retreat from conversation, challenge yourself to find new ways you can listen to your neighbors.
3. Remember Details
Have you ever been surprised by someone who remembered to ask about your recent vacation or your daughter’s birthday? Attention to these tiny details can communicate love and kindness to your neighbors. Make a note of your neighbor’s birthday on your calendar, follow-up about a project at their work, or do your best to remember the ages of their kids.
4. Share a Meal
At FCS, one of our favorite ways to be in community is around a table. You don’t have to be an amazing chef to invite your neighbors over for a meal. You could order in, host a potluck, or, if you’re local, pick up the ingredients for a Carver Carryout Meal from Caver Market!
5. Give a Gift
Gifts can be a great and easy way way to show someone you’re thinking of them and care about them. Bring over cookies around the holidays, offer to watch your neighbor’s kids for an evening, or share a copy of your favorite book. You never know how much that simple gift can mean to someone else!
Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” As we look to Scripture to learn how to love our neighbors, we can follow the example of service that Jesus set for us. There are many simple ways of serving our neighbors, like shoveling their snow and raking their leaves, picking up their mail when they are away, or cooking a meal for them.
7. Allow Your Neighbors to Serve You
Our relationships are dignifying when both parties give and receive. As Bob Lupton says, “Almost no one in our society is so poor that they have nothing to contribute. Nearly everyone has something to bring to the table.” And we wholeheartedly agree! Ask for help from your neighbors and willing receive their support and service if offered. Of course, gratitude is an important way to thank them for their kindness.
8. Spend Time Together
In our busy culture, one of the most valuable things we have is our time. People often recognize and appreciate the gift of time when we share it with others. Think about your day-to-day routine and consider moments when you can slow down to stop, talk, or invite your neighbor in.
9. Laugh, Cry, and Rejoice
Have you ever felt the weight of heartache lifted when a friend grieves with you? Or can you remember a time when your joy was multiplied because you celebrated with a loved one? Not only can we give our time to our neighbors, but we can also share in celebrations, grief, laughter, and sadness that’s bound to happen in our daily lives.
As we build ongoing, daily relationships with those in our path, we will learn more about the ins and outs of their lives. Our faith is a foundational motivation for loving our neighbors, and we welcome opportunities to offer prayer or spiritual support when we can. The need for prayer may arise when you least suspect it, but it is a beautiful way to love and care for our neighbors.
Building relationships with neighbors allows us to be in community with those closest to us, broaden our world view, and learn how to share love. At FCS, we strive to love and value our neighbors each day. How will you join us and love your neighbors this week?