Who's excited for summer?! Each season presents a new opportunity to experience God and His amazing gift of community.
Summer is arguably one of the best times of the year to reach out to others and serve. Why? The weather is warm and welcoming, there's a spirit of adventure in the air, and suddenly our neighborhood comes alive with activity and fellowship. These are the days that we will remember for years to come.
We've got three fun, creative ways to serve your community and share the love of Jesus with others—perfect for these long summer days.
1. Presence Is the Best Present
"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." ~ Galatians 6:2
In today's digital age, it can be tricky to stay in touch with your closest of friends and family. The workweek is long and exhausting, making it even harder to carve out time after work to spend time with others and serve. Our first way to serve others this summer is exceedingly simple—be there.
Perhaps the greatest gift you can serve someone right now is to be there for them.
When you think of the word "ministry," what comes to mind? Maybe it's volunteering for a purpose-driven organization or reaching out to those in the margins of society. Well, ministry can also look like pouring into the relationships that are already right in front of you, too.
We invite you to draw near to those you engage with on a daily basis, whether that's your coworkers, your family, your roommates, or dear friends. How can you be more present with them and demonstrate the love of Jesus on a whole new level? This could be cooking a meal for someone or sending them text messages with Bible verses throughout the day to inspire them. Something to think about.
2. Celebrate the Everyday
"This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." ~ Psalm 118:24
There's something to be said for the beauties of our everyday life. Consider the breathtaking majesty of a sunrise, the hot steam rising from a cup of your favorite morning coffee, or the warm embrace of a loved one. These small, glimmering details that make up our day-to-day life are worth celebrating.
One of the ways you can best share the love of Jesus this summer is to celebrate these seemingly ordinary happenings—these everyday miracles.
When we see everything through the lens of the Gospel and recognize just how awesome our God is, we begin to notice the little things in our day and count them as gifts. Part of being a faithful follower of Jesus is sharing His enthusiasm and care for the happenings of our world.
How can we do this? By celebrating every small win in our friends' daily lives. For instance, if you have a coworker that just got promoted, celebrate them! Take them out to dinner. If your child just finished a big exam they've been studying for, take them out to ice cream or buy them a special gift. You can extend the grace and love of Jesus in this very simple, tangible way—by caring deeply about their everyday wins.
When you start to fill your calendar with parties, dinner reservations, coffee dates, and other spontaneous social celebrations, you rejoice with those who are rejoicing, and are able to serve your community in an entirely new (and fun!) way.
3. Speak Their Love Language
"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." ~ 1 John 3:18
The five love languages are excellent ways to love your neighbor in a very specific way that speaks to them. Christian author and counselor Gary Chapman created these love languages as a way to better connect with those around you. According to the 5 Love Languages website, "By learning to recognize these preferences in yourself and in your loved ones, you can learn to identify the root of your conflicts, connect more profoundly, and truly begin to grow closer."
The five love languages are: acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, and physical touch.
Again, going back to the point we made earlier about seeing your closest relationships as a ministry opportunity, you have a unique opportunity here to serve them. By understanding how they best give and receive love, you can serve them in a very special way. After all, to be loved is to be known, and what better place to start off with than by knowing your neighbor's love language?
A Word on Works
"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." ~ James 2:26
"He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit" ~ Titus 3:5
To end things, we'd like to touch on this idea of works and how it relates to our faith. This topic of works-based salvation versus God-given grace can be a divisive topic in the Christian community. While this can be a delicate subject indeed, we believe the two elements at play here—acts of service and God's grace—can co-exist in our faith.
Like this verse in James states, we must walk the talk when it comes to our faith. It's not enough to just talk about loving others, we must act on this too. There are many, many commandments throughout the Bible on what this looks like. But also, while we should seek to serve others and do good in our world, we must acknowledge that it is not by our own good deeds that we gain access to God or heaven. Nothing we do can right our wrongs with God and our own deep problem of sin. Only through Jesus' work on the cross have we been washed clean.
For further study and encouragement on this topic, we suggest viewing this article from Christianity.com.
Love Others Always
You have a remarkable opportunity before you, LiF sister! There's lots of fun to be had in the months ahead, and we hope this blog post gives you that extra boost of encouragement to serve others with excitement. Sharing God's love and pouring into ministry doesn't have to be complicated. It can be very simple. Start off by loving those closest to you in your daily lives. For even more faith-based inspiration, check out our selection Christian t-shirts and accessories!