Love Your Neighbor Jar
by Beth Gier writing for VibrantFaithAtHome.com
This activity will help your family to remember the need to reach out and help people in your community or neighborhood. Keep sharing and giving year-round with this activity.
Bible; jar, small cardboard box, or other container; colorful paper scraps, buttons, or other craft supplies for decorating; fine-tipped permanent markers; white glue; scissors; pencil or pen; Love-Your-Neighbor Jar worksheet (see below)
1. Say this prayer aloud to begin:
God, we know there are people who need our help, even in the summer time. Help us to be good neighbors, and to show your love to others. Amen.
2. Read aloud Mark 12:28-31 from your Bible or the text below. Discuss: What does Jesus mean by “love your neighbor as yourself”? In what ways might our family do this?
The Great Commandment
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
3. Wrap your container with plain paper and print “Love Your Neighbor” on it. Do not put a lid on it. Decorate the container with buttons, colorful paper scraps, markers, or any other craft materials you have on hand.
4. Work together to read the ideas on the Love-Your-Neighbor Jar worksheet (see below). Add your own ideas in the blank spaces. Cut the slips apart and put them in your container.
5. Choose a day each week to draw a slip and work together as a family to do the act of love described on it. If needed, modify it to fit your family or your community. After you draw the slip, say this prayer:
Dear God, may our words and deeds help someone today. Amen.
6. Plan to share stories about your experiences before bedtime that day.
- Gather loose change from around the house and use it to buy food for a local food pantry.
- Pick flowers or vegetables from your garden and take them to a neighbor. (If you don’t have a garden, make a bouquet of paper flowers.)
- Invite a friend or neighbor to attend worship, Vacation Bible School, or other church activity with you.
- Put on work gloves. Walk around your neighborhood or favorite park and pick up any trash you see. Be sure to recycle bottles and cans.
- Take a walk or a bike ride. Smile and say “Hello” to each person you see.
- Check your church bulletin or newsletter for a list of people in need of prayer. Take time to pray for each one.
- As a family, offer to help a neighbor with some yard work. Or sweep a neighbor’s sidewalk without being seen!
- Telephone an older family member or neighbor and sing a song to him or her.
- Contact a local housing shelter and ask if they would like some toys and games in good condition. If they would, clean out your closets and drawers and find some to donate.