By Tiffany Tolman, Contributor

faith in action Stories

Being a Doer

At the beginning of each school year, my family chooses a theme. This year we picked “Do to Know.” We wanted to test the idea described in John 7:17 that if we want to know if something is true, we have to try it out. When it comes to serving others, we don’t just want to say we know it’s a good thing. We want to find out for ourselves that it really makes a difference. Of course, we are a very typical family and fall short a lot of the time. But we are still trying to do some good for those around us whenever we can.

Grand Gestures and Small Acts

Sometimes doing good for others involves a grand gesture. Take my hair stylist Kara. She does good things for others all the time. We don’t attend the same church, but I always look forward to my hair cuts for the great conversations we have about putting faith into action. Not long ago, Kara wanted to do something big to live her faith. She traveled to Uganda on a service mission with some fellow church parishioners, became a sponsor for one young girl and her family, and raised funds to build them a simple shelter. She made a big difference in the lives of others and it changed her life. But Kara doesn’t only make the grand gestures. She is doing good every day in small, unheralded ways like sharing scripture verses with her coworkers or giving free cuts to others who have cancer or have lost jobs. She’s going about doing good all the time.

Doing Good in All Circumstances

I’ve also seen people serve others even in dark moments. Not long ago, I ran across the Facebook page of a father grieving the death of his young son. Mitchell’s Journey is a raw, emotional account of one family’s heartache at the death of their precious son Mitch. As I sat reading past posts well into the night, tears streaming down my face, I felt the anguish of a father trying to make sense of his sorrow with faith. But an interesting thing happened as I read. I turned from the posts themselves to the comments left by readers, and I discovered that this father is helping others, even though things are hard for himself. Through each post, he shares his faith in God and a hope that things will work out. In a way, Mitchell’s journey has become his father’s journey. And his father’s journey is lifting countless others through his inspiring words.

Doing Good at All Times

It’s important to be ready to serve all the time. You never know when you can help someone else. A couple years ago a friend served me with a small gesture just when I needed it most. We were living in the midwest, and it really felt like home. My husband’s job had been great, until suddenly it wasn’t. After a year of intense struggle and uncertainty, unemployment seemed unavoidable. For us, it was like standing on the edge of a cliff, knowing the push was coming, with no net in sight. That’s when Cathy, a dear friend of a different faith, put her arms around me and told me God would take care of our family no matter what. The act was small, but Cathy’s words affected me deeply. Through them, I was reminded that faith in God is real, no matter which church I call home. Faith is faith, and she served me best with a simple hug and statement of faith when mine was being stretched. Ultimately, we did fall off that cliff. But just as Cathy promised, God took care of our family and provided the net we needed.

Doing Some Good

There are many ways to do some good within our circles of influence. Acts don’t have to be big to be meaningful. Sometimes, the smaller the better. The key is to act. While this list is just a springboard for your own ideas, here are some small ways you can begin today to do some good around you.

  • Love and serve your family. All the good we do starts at home.
  • Meet your neighbors.
  • Volunteer at your child’s school.
  • Share a meal or treat with someone.
  • Volunteer within your church organization.
  • Make the phone call.
  • Write the note.
  • Share your faith with someone in need.
  • Keep your eyes open and act on impressions.

It doesn’t matter how big or small the act, put your faith into action and go and do some good today.