Watch the most recent sermon on 9.12.2021 Go Now!
September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
Back when I was in school, my teachers would talk about doing “random acts of kindness” for our peers. As I got older, though, and life got busier, thoughts of these acts faded into the background. In our everyday lives, it’s all too easy to unintentionally focus mainly on our own thoughts and issues. However, Jesus lived His life in a very different way.
We must strive to humble ourselves and aim to bring glory to the Lord rather than to make ourselves look good.
This week, we’re going to talk about how to lift our focus off of ourselves and onto others, and ultimately spread the love of Jesus. Philippians 2:3–4 (NIV) says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” As we do this, we must remember to keep our hearts in the right place. We must strive to humble ourselves and aim to bring glory to the Lord rather than to make ourselves look good. Today, I’m going to share a few practical ideas on how to show love to those around us—and I’m excited because it will help me focus my thoughts on others, too!
Whether you’re at Starbucks or McDonald’s, paying the bill for the person behind you will definitely make his or her day. One of the great things about this is that it’s anonymous—they don’t know you and you don’t know them. You also have no idea what kind of day they’ve had; maybe they’re having a really rough day and finding out their meal has been paid for will brighten their spirits. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that truly kind people exist anymore, especially people who do kind things without selfish ambition. Maybe the person whose meal you pay for will keep the chain going and pay for the person behind them. When that happens, one small decision you made could make dozens of people happy by the end of the day!
This can apply to strangers, but also to people that you interact with on a daily basis. When you think a nice thought about someone, don’t keep it to yourself! Sometimes I catch myself thinking, “I love her shirt,” or “He did a great job on this project,” but I don’t say it out loud. Every time I catch myself doing this, I make it a point to say it out loud! Sometimes it may feel awkward to compliment someone out of the blue, but don’t deprive them of encouragement. A kind word could boost their confidence or even completely turn their day around.
Do you suffer from a bad case of road rage? It can be difficult to not burst out in anger when someone cuts you off in traffic. However, the road is a great place to show kindness to others. Give another car ample space to get into your lane or to turn into traffic. Let a pedestrian cross the street with a smile and a wave. Even if someone cuts you off, instead of making angry gestures, give them a wave! Even this small act is a way of showing the other driver grace—and it will show them that nice people do still exist.
It doesn’t have to be much—it could even just be a nice card. A gift can be a great way to show someone how much they mean to you; they’ll recognize the effort and time you put into it. Make it something thoughtful, like their favorite candy bar or a cool mug. This way when they eat the candy or use the mug, they’ll be reminded of your appreciation for them!
Although this doesn’t apply to everyone (not all of us are married with kids), it’s so important for those who are in that stage of life to serve those closest to them. Your spouse and your child(ren) are the most important people in your life. Serving them will strengthen your relationship with them and build them up. For your spouse, this can help to foster intimacy in your relationship, and with your children it can serve as a reminder that you love and support them. Again, it doesn’t have to be a big production, it can be as simple as cooking their favorite dinner, dessert, or—for those who aren’t culinarily inclined—taking them to their favorite restaurant.
It’s almost impossible to talk to your family too much, especially when you don’t live at home anymore. Your mom is probably hoping you’ll call to update her on your life, and your dad would probably love to chat . . . and don’t forget your siblings! Life can get really hectic, and sometimes it seems like reaching out to family is the first activity that gets pushed to the side. But family is forever, and it’s so important to keep those relationships healthy and close.
Next month, Calvary will participate in Love South Florida, a campaign that unites churches from all over South Florida in an effort to show the love of Jesus in our cities. One of the ways Calvary will do that is by collecting and donating food to local food pantries and families in our community that need some help this holiday season. Donating food is a great way to help someone who really needs it. It’s a powerful way to sacrificially serve others; you’re sacrificing your time and money for someone else’s benefit. Doing this also fosters unity with your church family, since all of us are partnering together to help those in the community. Humility in action looks like serving those around you. It’s refusing to get caught up in the world’s teaching, which tells us that our needs are more important than those of the people around us; that we have to look out for “number one” all the time. Acting humbly involves actively searching for ways to serve those around you, taking every opportunity to encourage, bless, and show them the love of Jesus. In order to make sure we’re not serving others out of selfish ambition, we have to center ourselves in our time with the Lord so that His love will flow through us. As we display true humility and show the love of Jesus to those around us, we will ultimately begin to change the world for God’s glory!