During some recent volunteerism, my eyes were opened to why volunteerism is so important. Yes, it’s a great way to love our neighbors. As people who love God, we should always strive to love our neighbors well. But that’s not the big revelation I gleaned.
What I learned was that volunteerism is unabashedly fun. And I don’t mean that in a corny kind of way. I mean that volunteerism almost always leads to a good feeling when done with others or for others.
Perhaps that should have been obvious, but I’m a person that must be hit over the head a couple of times to really grasp big ideas. If I had only looked at any data on the topic, I would have instantly known about this.
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According to the Mental Health Foundation, putting the needs of others before our own can improve mood, self-esteem, and happiness.
When Jesus says, “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” he means that in every way possible. A gift is a blessing for the person receiving it. A gift is also a blessing for the person who gave it. Not just in the heavenly realm, but right here on Earth as well.
With all that being said, what are we supposed to do with this new knowledge? Well, we should do these two things: love our neighbors and give generously.
Love Our Neighbors
If you’re not sure how to love your neighbors, then think about how people love you well. Examples: If you enjoy when a friend calls up for a no-strings-attached conversation, return the favor to another friend. If you enjoy when people give you kind words for a job well-done, give a genuine compliment to someone else who wasn’t expecting it. If you’re still unsure, these are the cornerstones for loving people well:
- Random acts of kindness
As Jesus people, we all know we shouldn’t be stingy with our time, money, talents, or energy. However, we often end up that way. Luckily, giving is a habit that is improved best over time. If you’re not giving financially to your local church, start by giving 5 percent of your income and see how that feels. If you’ve never spent time at your child’s school, join your parent-teacher association and start giving your time.
Regardless of what you do for others, do something. You’ll be very glad you did.