In our technology-driven world, we could spend an entire day without physically needing to see or talk to another person. Thanks to digital devices and the Internet, we can work and order our food, and just about anything else we need, from home. You can go days with your only interaction being with your touch screen or mouse and keyboard. And while technology isn’t inherently bad, it does make it easier for people to be separated.
That’s not the kind of world we want to live in though. There are many great things about our modern world—but the people in it should be at the top of that list. Taking a genuine interest in your family, friends, neighbors and even strangers is one of the most rewarding decisions you can make for yourself and those around you that you choose to serve.
Why It’s Important to Help Others
Think back to the last time you helped someone, whether it was holding the door open for a classmate or raking your elderly neighbor’s leaves. While you were doing it and afterward, how did you feel? We’re going to make a safe bet you felt happy and more positive about life. That’s because the fastest way to feel joy is serving others.
An old Chinese Proverb tells it perfectly, “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
But serving doesn’t just make your heart feel good. Studies have shown that there are mental and physical health benefits to serving, like reducing depression, lowering blood pressure and lengthening your lifespan.
Putting other people’s needs before yours also strengthens your relationships. It connects you with the one you’re serving, and if that someone is someone you know, it creates a stronger bond with them.
It also enriches other people’s lives. Taking time out of your busy day to even bring a friend a bowl of soup when they’re sick makes them feel better and can uplift them during their rough time.
And perhaps the best benefit of service is the chance of that person paying it forward. If you help someone, they’re more likely to do something nice for someone else that day. Your one act of kindness could have a major domino effect.
How You Can Start Today
So how do you start? And who do you start with?
First, you have to make helping others a priority. Most people think, “I don’t have time to serve someone today.” And it’s true; we’re all busy. Between school, work, family obligations, dating and church callings, you likely hardly have enough “me” time. But, you do have the time. You just have to prioritize what’s really important.
The second thing you need to do is simply love. God loves us, and He wants us to love everyone. And Galatians 5:13 tells us “by love serve one another.” You can serve someone by simply expressing your love to them. A hug, a compliment or lending a listening ear are all small ways you can show love to someone; ways that mean more to that person than you may ever know.
Other ways you can start serving today include:
- Smiling at a stranger.
- Volunteering at a local charity, soup kitchen, etc.
- Donating old clothes, books and other items you no longer need at a local charity.
- Giving a few dollars, food or a bottle of water that’s in your car to the homeless person standing on the street corner.
- Doing something nice for your siblings or parents, i.e. doing one of their chores for them, watching the movie they want to watch, etc.
- Leaving a short note on a coworker’s desk telling them how much you appreciate their hard work.
- Lending a helping hand is one of the easiest things you can do to make a difference in this world. You can improve the world, one day, one person and one act of kindness at a time.