I was in middle school when one of my favorite CCM groups, dc Talk, released a song called “Luv is a Verb.” (Wow, does the editor in me cringe at that title now.) The past few weeks have brought to mind the important message of that song. Love, the kind of love God wants His followers to live out, requires action.
Check out these lyrics:
Words come easy but don’t mean much
When the words they’re sayin’ we can’t put trust in
We’re talkin’ ‘bout love in a different light
And if we all learn to love it would be just right
I’ve seen a lot of words recently, and I’ve certainly contributed my share. I think we’ve all been trying to process the latest headlines and what it means to be a person who loves God and others in light of them. But ultimately words alone fall short. Loving requires action.
Sometimes love calls for courage, sacrifice and hard work. And when I’m called to that kind of love, I want to be ready and willing to obey God with whatever it takes. But love is also a common, everyday calling. I need to proactively seek out ways to love in quiet and ordinary actions, too. Do you? Here are 10 ways to love someone today.
Pick up the phone.
Call someone who may need encouragement. Whether a family member or a friend experiencing turmoil, reach out. I’ll never forget rushing through my home trying to grab a few items after my son had been admitted to the hospital. A friend I hadn’t heard from in a while called me. “How are you doing?” she asked. “I saw your post and wanted to see if I could do anything.” I’ve never forgotten that friend’s well-timed call and how good it felt that someone cared.
Deliver a meal.
Nearly every day of the year you can find someone who wouldn’t say no to a free meal. Whether you flex your master chef skills or deliver some tasty take-out, providing a meal communicates care. Here’s a tip: When you make a favorite meal, double the recipe and give the second portion to someone else who could use a break.
Write an encouragement note.
Words of affirmation is one of my top love languages, so when I receive an encouragement note, I often read it over and over. Consider sending it through the mail to really brighten someone’s day.
I can’t count the times I told someone I’d be praying for them but got distracted and forgot. That’s why I like to set “prayer alarms” on my phone. Recently, someone at my church encouraged everyone via Instagram to pray at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. for a friend having cancer surgery. (She titled it, “We’ve got your 6!”) I’ve also found it helpful to actually pray instead of telling someone I will pray. This simple action brings my follow-through up to 100 percent!
Provide physical labor.
Many of us joke about the dread of being asked to help someone move, but I have been so blessed (and felt so loved) by people who have helped me move, clean house, relocate heavy furniture, paint, and so many other tasks. Doing a service for someone when they need help is a great way to love.
James 1:9 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Those are important words to heed during these tumultuous times. Mister Rogers built a TV show and a lifetime of child advocacy on the skill of listening. When you have nothing else to give, you can always listen.
Do intentional acts of kindness.
Sometimes a small gesture can make a big difference. Think of how you can encourage someone today. Drop off flowers with a simple note to a friend. Surprise someone with her favorite coffee drink. If you have a roommate, do one of the chores you both despise. Text someone to let him know you’re praying for him.
A lot of people are struggling financially right now. If you’re not, or have a little extra to give, identify someone you know who could use some funds. I have been so blessed through the years by anonymous (or known) monetary gifts that seemed to arrive at just the right time.
During the past few months, new community service opportunities have cropped up. I’ve heard of people handing out food at schools, participating in church drive-thru events, grocery shopping for seniors and supporting first responders. I recently committed to a new volunteer leadership role in women’s ministry at my church. Even though we’re not sure what the ministry will look like in the fall, there’s a need for believers to contribute to the work of the church, our communities and beyond.
Overlook an offense.
With divisive political and practical issues swirling right now, turning against each other is a real temptation. But infighting among believers is a poor testimony that doesn’t honor Christ’s command to “love one another” (John 13:34-35). Part of that love is choosing to not get offended. Proverbs 19:11 says, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” As you have patience with the people around you (or online), you choose love.
I think all of us would agree that we’re living in challenging times, both as a nation and as individuals. But like the song said, “If we all learn to love it would be just right.”
Jesus is a great example of love in action. He healed the sick. He fed the hungry. He embraced children. Although He was also the great God of justice, He tenderly cared for people. He listened. He served. I want to do the same — because luv (or love) is a verb.
Copyright 2020 Suzanne Hadley Gosselin. All rights reserved.