Help My Neighbor
Living out the Greatest Commandment… Fulfilling the Great Commission!
When Christ was asked, "Teacher, what is the most important Commandment in the law…", He did not answer with a parable as he often did, nor did He reply with a question. It's almost as if Jesus didn't want any debate, confusion, or misunderstanding of his answer when he replied. He very succinctly replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:36-40 NLT). These words were to be the guiding influence when Christ gave his parting words of “go and make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19 NLT) and “as the Father sent me, so I am sending you” (John 20:21). Being “sent” is foundational to the call of a disciple, sent in a spirit of “daring to love” one’s neighbor.
The intent of this document is to provide each of us practical ways in which we can “dare to love” our neighbors. While living missionally, always has been and always will be vitally important, we each now have a unique opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ and live this commandment out in and around our neighborhoods at a time when it may be needed the most.
The three steps that follow provide a way in which we can address the concerns of those in need, be it the elderly, sick, individuals out of work, single moms, multi-children homes, our recovery community, service-oriented professionals, and our community-in-need at large.
STEP 1: Understand the different ways we can engage
Since we are currently unable to meet in the typical manner to which we're accustomed, use this opportunity to connect in ways you may not have thought about or done in the past. With the current landscape and 'rules of engagement' changing so frequently, we ask that you abide by the current government restrictions as well as the overall safety and cleansing/distancing practices that have been established. In light of that, the following are some examples of ways you can engage within your community:
- Technology/Social Media Assistance: Many are needing to work from home and use technology in new ways. Offer your help to equip others.
- Tutoring - Many children may be out of school for the remainder of the year/summer and need to remain prepared for the upcoming school year. If you are able to provide academic support, there are many parents who would greatly appreciate the assistance in keeping their children actively engaged, even if it is in through electronic means (see “Technology/Social Media Assistance” above).
- Grocery store runs - There are people in our community who may not be able to, or have the time, to make it out to the grocery store for the amount of time it takes to shop currently. This could also include arranging online delivery through Instacart or other stores offering delivery.
- Pharmacy run - There are those in our community in which a run to the pharmacy is necessary, but they are also more susceptible to illness. Assisting in this manner is a way to get them what they need while also keeping out of harm's way.
- Babysitting/Child Care - Many of our neighbors work at hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, and other service-oriented businesses that continue to operate. Even an hour alone with a spouse, or a moment alone to read/reflect/be still, while their kids are out for a walk, or getting exercise in their front yard under supervision would be a welcomed relief.
- Personal interaction (via phone) - While this is a practice that most have gotten away from over the years, this is a great way to stay engaged with those who welcome interaction and connection.
- Animal care - For those service-oriented professionals who may not have the time to care for their beloved animals in a manner in which they've become accustomed to, the peace of mind that comes from knowing they are taken care of while away brings them a peace of mind that is much needed.
- Yardwork - There is an opportunity for those more physically capable or without as many time constraints to help those in need with outside chores or tasks that they are unable to do themselves.
- Write a note of encouragement - Old-fashioned pen and paper might be just the right technology to reach others. The post office is still delivering. Make a list of folks and write letters/cards of encouragement to them. You can even do this for nursing homes. Simply address as “Resident Needing Encouragement,” c/o facility and address.
- Prayer (via phone) - There are those that just want someone to pray with them during a time in which anxiety levels have reached unhealthy levels due to the uncertainty of the potential illness hovering over us all. A steady, calm, and focused prayer can help in ways that could bring peace when someone may need it the most.
Invite someone to be in community - RLCM hosts online services and other opportunities for engagement throughout the week (groups, special prayer times, Facebook live events). Share them.
- Some more ideas - Here is a 30-Days-of-Kindness resource if you’re looking for additional ideas.
- Get creative - Use these to get you started and have fun creating your own list of ways that you can be a blessing to those around you.
STEP 2: Reach Out
If you've engaged your neighborhood before and know where specific needs may be, share your availability accordingly with those individuals. If you have the phone number, email, or social media access to those around you who may be in need, take the time to reach out to them and assess their needs.
If you've been unable to engage in your neighborhood, take the time to do so now. Join your neighborhood social media account, or create ways in which to safely engage. Taking strategic strolls around your neighborhood, checking your mailbox at opportune times, spending time in your front yard, porch, or balcony reading/eating a snack/reflecting/enjoying some fresh air, are all ways to open yourself up to engagement with your community.
Below are a few examples of ways to share your availability with your neighbors:
- Create a card - Create a card to give to your neighbors just to let them know that you are thinking of them and also here for them during this time. To the extent that you are comfortable, leave your email address, phone number, social media handles, or other contact details in which they can reach out to you.
- Post to social media - If you're willing to offer one of the services detailed from the list you created, share that with your neighborhood community page or with a direct message to those in your community who you may feel would benefit from your assistance.
- Share your story - Tell them a little bit about yourself, what you do, and ways in which you are willing to assist. You can provide details that include your willingness to do any of the activities that were listed in STEP 1.
- If you're offering tutoring services, share your profession, education level or subjects you feel you'd be proficient in assisting with.
- If you're offering to make a run, share time frames in which you'd be able to do so (or that you're available as needed).
- If offering supplies, share examples of one's that you have that you want to share if they have such a need.
Once you’ve made the connection determine the need. Ask your neighbors to provide you with any requests they may have. Offer to assist them in finding a resolution to ones that you, as their neighbor, are not suited to address. RLCM has many resources available and can assist with addressing different needs on a case-by-case basis as they arise. In addition to the many other social-service organizations, you can direct them to our websites for links to different kinds of resources.
STEP 3: Follow Through Faithfully
One of the most important things we can do is to act upon the information that we receive when reaching out to our neighbors. We don't want to offer ourselves, and then not be willing to follow through with the right level of help, communication and follow-up. This includes following up on a periodic basis so that we remain aware of needs as they will continually change.
STEP 4: Make the Graph Go Up, Share Your Act of Love
It's a big goal, but with everyone working together it can be done! The only way to know though is to track it. Click here to fill out the short form on the web page to update the tracking chart! If you want to remain anonymous, just submit a response without your name. Dare to love today, tomorrow, and next week, but come back and add each act to the total!
While this is a difficult situation for many, this is a way you can stretch yourself and use the gifts with which God has blessed you. Be a good steward of the extra time on your hands and use this as an opportunity to be intentional, glorify God, put your faith into action, and dare to love others a little closer to Jesus.
Now GO!! Dare to Love!