There is much evidence of the benefits of service, being charitable and giving of ourselves to others. Volunteers live longer. People who are generous are generally more successful in their own endeavors, business and otherwise. But there is another reason to give to and serve the needy.
There is a lovely religious hymn that goes, "Because I have been given much, I too must give. Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live."
The much we have been given doesn't only refer to our physical blessings, but also to the spiritual bounty we are so grateful for. Our knowledge of having God, our father in heaven, a savior, Jesus Christ, and a belief in the truthfulness of the scriptures should also push us forward to share with others. If we are to become like our Savior, we must do his work here on earth. If we believe we have been redeemed, we must in turn do the redemptive work of love as shown to us by our redeemer.
Doing Christ's work means helping people with their problems. Here are some examples that can serve as a springboard in helping you to think about ways you can serve:
1. Befriending the poor and the weak
Look around you. Is there someone who could use a friend. Perhaps someone who is financially struggling or maybe even poor in spirit. When I was a single mom and unable to always make ends meet, I once came home from work and found an envelope slipped underneath my front door. In it was a $100 gift certificate to a grocery store. To this day, I have no idea who left it for me. But I do know how much it helped.
There have also been many times when I just didn't feel like I was managing well. Someone would come and offer to take my children for a little while or help me with housework. I was poor in spirit and they reached out to me.
2. Alleviating suffering
Find ways to help the suffering of one or of many. Give to humanitarian efforts. Make a quilt, a donation or a leprosy bandage. Any one small thing you do to alleviate the suffering of someone is blessing both of you. This is also a great opportunity to teach your family about humanitarian work by doing something together.
3. Righting wrongs
Is there something you have done that hurt another? Even if it wasn't you who committed the wrong, is there something you can do to make it right?
4. Defending truth
This is speaking out in someone's defense, standing up for the right and protecting the beliefs you hold dear. It can also be campaigning for political causes that defend your standards or writing a letter to your congressman.
Just helping your children to become strong and honorable adults is a huge feat that will greatly benefit the world. Invest in your children's moral fiber. Teach them right from wrong. Teach them respect and compassion.
6. Achieving security and happiness at home
Provide a safe haven for your own family and for others who may not have such a thing. Create a little bit of heaven on earth — a place of joy and learning, of patience and love, of security and safety.
7. Help others grow and achieve their just hopes and aspirations
Another great way to help is through mentoring. Be a big brother or sister. Volunteer to work with teens. Help out at a school. Read to preschoolers. If you are proficient and successful at work, consider volunteering for a business alliance or investing in a small business. Donate art supplies, musical instruments and other artistic goods to those who are aspiring in that area.
These are just a few ideas and you are probably working on some of them already, but it's always good to give a little more. When you go to bed at night, count your blessings and when you awake in the morning, think of ways to share them. Pray about your choices and if you can't think of anything, just ask God. He will show you the way.