When we hear of a friend in need, sometimes the first thoughts to pop into our brains are excuses for why we can’t help. We might think we’re too busy, money is too tight, or that we can’t really do anything because our friend lives in another city or state.
These concerns might be perfectly valid, and they could certainly rule out a few ideas for how to get involved. For example, if you’re too busy, it might be hard to volunteer your time for hands-on help. If money is tight, it could be difficult to make a donation. And if you live far away, it would be tough to drop by and encourage your friend in-person.
But if God has given us the gift of creativity, and if He’s called us to love our neighbors, is it possible we should be putting the two together? What would happen if we stopped thinking about all the reasons why we can’t help in certain ways, and instead pursued creative solutions for how we can make a difference?
Here’s an example. Let’s a imagine your friend has a new baby. Normally, you’d take over a meal, but this friend recently moved across the country. How could you help in spite of the distance?
Here are a few creative ideas that are surprisingly practical
1. Have dinner delivered.
Food delivery services make it easy for you to send a far-away friend a hot meal. Uber Eats is a popular example. When you go to ubereats.com and type in your friend’s address, you can see what restaurants are available in their area. Then, if you decide to place an order, an Uber Eats delivery driver will go pick up the food from the restaurant and deliver it to the address you enter.
If Ubereats isn’t available near your friend’s house, Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates, and Caviar are popular alternatives you can try. FoodDeliveryGuru.com has coupons and promo codes for many of these companies.
2. Send groceries through Instacart.
Instacart is similar to food delivery services, only instead of delivering restaurant meals, it offers same-day grocery delivery. If Instacart, or a similar service, is available in your friend’s area, you can have an order of groceries and toiletries shipped right to his or her door.
3. Give a gift subscription to a meal prep service.
Affordable meal delivery subscriptions like Dinnerly and Blue Apron ship pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions to make homemade meals easier to prepare. You can set preferences to accommodate picky family members or dietary restrictions, type in how many people will be eating each meal, and decide how many recipes you want to include in each delivery.
It’s not as good as having a homemade meal cooked for you, but it’s the next best thing — and simple enough that even someone without much cooking experience can get the job done.
Here’s the big point
Our world is filled with unsolved problems, unmet needs, and untended wounds. We’re called to play a part in responding to these challenges. And in many cases, what’s holding us back isn’t a lack of ability or willingness — but rather the absence of creativity.
God is infinitely creative. We are His children. Mercy is the family business.
Let’s rise above boring excuses and love one another creatively.