I don’t know about you, but recently I’ve started switching off when I see the news. I’ve always been interested in what’s going on around the world but it seems like for the last few months we’re being fed a lot of bad news.
Another country is at war. More refugees are denied asylum. A confusing political decision has been made. A terror attack has happened close to home. The poor are being ignored. There are famines and food shortages, stabbings and corruption….the list could go on.
Now more than ever, we have immediate access to almost all of world’s news in the blink of an eye. It’s no wonder we can feel overwhelmed, confused and pretty discouraged by the world around us.
But take heart. Small acts of love can make the biggest difference. We cannot do everything but we can do something, (or one thing – it doesn’t have to be ten).
I believe that normal people like you and me can actually begin to chase away the shadows and bring a smile to people’s faces.
Be kind to your family
We are all part of a family of some sort. How can we serve the families that God has placed us in? Maybe it’s by listening more than speaking. Maybe it’s by taking the rubbish out when the bins get full. Maybe it’s offering to cook dinner for everyone once in a while.
Mother Theresa once said, “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”
Contribute to a food parcel
A shocking thirteen million people live below the poverty line in the UK, with individuals going hungry every day for a range of reasons, from benefit delays to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income.
By donating food to your local foodbank you can help create a food parcel for an individual or family who need it most.
Welcome a refugee family
You and your community can support a newly resettled refugee family from the moment they arrive in the UK. What a welcome for them! You can help meet the family at the airport, supported with housing, have the proper access they need to medical and language services and are supported to be self-sufficient.
If you’re part of a church, talk to your pastor or church elders today and chat through some of the information on For Refugees.
Sponsor a child in a developing country
For just 83p a day, you can provide a child living in one of 25 countries around the world, a chance to break free from the cycle of poverty for them.
Your valuable support will provide them with the important supplies they will need to go to school. What’s more, you can send them to a church-based project each week, where they will receive nutritious food, health check-ups, mentoring, literacy training. You can also build up a friendship with the child through writing letters. Fun! Check out how to do so here.
Sign a petition
Did you know that if a petition gets 10,000 signatures the UK government has to respond to it? Your name is seriously valuable!
Petition for things to change in your neighbourhood, town or city. You can start a petition or find out which petitions are local to your neighbourhood here.
“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?” – Matthew 5:46
In this verse Jesus explains that it’s easy to love only the people who love us. It’s easy to show appreciation back to someone who appreciates us. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to do something special for someone when you know they will thank you.
But what happens when you know there will be no “thank you”? Or when the last thing you feel like doing is showing kindness to someone who has insulted you or offended you? Show compassion. Show patience. Show grace.
Make friends with people who are different to you
“If you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?” – Matthew 5:47
Do you go out of your way to chat with people who you might not naturally interact with? – people from a different generation, race, culture, background or personality type to you. It might take a lot of work at first – but I promise you’ll be richer from the friendship and it will speak volumes to the world around you.
Knock on your neighbour’s door
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “real needs are not far from us,” and in fact they can literally be on our doorstop. Do you know your neighbours? It’s amazing what a friendly wave, a chat over the garden fence, or occasionally having to borrow some milk when the shops are closed, can help you get to know them.
Earlier this month it was announced that 75% of elderly people in the UK are lonely but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Pray for people and nations
“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20
If I actually believed my prayers were as powerful as Jesus says they are I would probably pray much more for the world around me. God sees everything. He loves the world He has created. He is grieves over loss and pain. He has carved out a purpose for every single human being on the planet. He longs to redeem everything and make it new and whole. He is our helper.
Be inspired by God’s Word
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Romans 12:2
Do you ever have days when life just feels too much? When it takes everything to just get out of bed in the morning? Let alone care about the people around us. Maybe the most important thing we can do is to align our thinking with God’s. His word is perfect – it refreshes our souls, gives joy to our hearts and light to our eyes (Psalm 19). If you don’t know where to start, the eyewitness gospel accounts of Jesus’s life are a good place to start – Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.
The Bible is a treasure trove of reasons to make the most of the opportunities we have been given. It reminds us that a light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.