By Michele Mayer
The first day of Spring is right around the corner. Along with warmer weather, Spring brings the promise of new life in every flower bed and a renewed desire to get out in the sunshine and get things accomplished.
While it’s great to spend time outside in your own yard, Spring is also a great time to look outward and once again ask yourself, “How can I love and serve my neighbors in this season?”
For instance, yard work that comes with warmer weather can easily feel overwhelming to someone who doesn’t have the physical strength or emotional capacity to address it. Mowing a lawn, pulling weeds, or planting colorful annuals can go a long way toward communicating to someone, “I care about what you’re going through.”
With that in mind, here are a few thoughts on how to serve people this Spring.
Do You Know Someone Going Through a Hard Time Right Now?
One reason God puts us in community with others is so we can care for each other in times of need. Sometimes, all it takes is slowing down and looking around for us to see someone we know who needs us. Life brings plenty of hardship. So odds are good that you have elderly neighbors who might need help, a friend who recently lost a spouse, or a co-worker who’s dealing with significant health issues.
Don’t Ask. Offer.
Once you’ve identified someone who’s struggling, I would suggest not asking how you can help but offering to do something specific.
People going through hardship have a hard time articulating what they really need (and, often, an even harder time accepting help). It’s far more helpful for you to say, “Hey, I’m going to bring you a meal every Monday night this month” than to ask, “What do you need?” or tell the person, “Call me if I can help!”
What if No One I Know Needs My Help? What Then?
If you’ve looked around and realized that you don’t know anyone who needs help – or those you know are already being well cared for – consider helping someone you don’t know. Many families in Columbia don’t have the strong support of the community around them.
You’ll need help finding people in need that you don’t already know. A few suggestions include:
Reach out to The Crossing Care Ministry
Send an email to [email protected]. We can help connect you with opportunities to make a difference in another’s life. In your initial note, list a few ways you see yourself able to help others; cooking, carpooling, power tool skills, etc. This helps us know where to start with our suggestions for you.
Contact a local non-profit doing work in an area that interests you.
What If I Want to Give Financial Help Instead of My Time?
Maybe this is a hectic time for you, and your own yard work is more than enough for you to handle. There are still ways you can serve others.
Consider setting up a monthly financial commitment to one of the many non-profit organizations here in Columbia working with people in crisis, chronic poverty, joblessness, and more.
One solid non-profit to support is Love Columbia. You can learn more about them here.
Make It a Family Affair
Finally, one really fun way to serve others is to look for a project the whole family can do together.
One of the easiest ways to serve as a group is to sign up to serve with ForColumbia 2021. This year’s day of service is Saturday, June 5th.
There will be dozens of fun, safe ways for you to serve with your family (or your small group!). It’s a great, one-time serving opportunity. Learn more here about this effort or email [email protected] for complete details.
Our mission as Christians is to live out the truths we believe. Serving is a powerful way to do that.
Jesus calls his people to share their faith with others. It’s the mission he gave his followers before ascending to God’s throne (Matthew 28:18-20). But many of us aren’t quite where to start. Serving others — particularly fellow Columbians you don’t know — can be a personal and powerful way to begin sharing the love of Jesus with another person.
As you make plans to serve this spring, consider inviting friends or neighbors to join you on Easter. Check out our Easter page for service times, ways to watch, and other resources designed to help you focus on the resurrection