You never know when you're going to run into somebody in the course of a day who needs a little pick-me-up. As Christians it is our job to come alongside each other and ease each other's burdens. Sometimes the need is ongoing or obvious: the family struggling with unemployment, the widow who just lost her husband, the friend whose parent is dying…. But other times people struggle quietly and the need is not so obvious. Sometimes the only indication we have that someone needs some encouragement is the Holy Spirit whispering in our hearts, “This person needs encouragement from you.”
One way to put an immediate ray of sunshine into someone's day is to offer a small gift. My friend Elizabeth (the same friend who introduced me to the concept of prayer sticks) keeps her van stocked with Love Lunches. She's a single Mom on a tight budget and a tighter schedule and this is her way of always having something on hand to bless somebody. Whether she meets a homeless person standing at a traffic light, somebody with car trouble on the side of the road, or a co-worker in need of a little encouragement and a blood-sugar boost, Love Lunches are a gift that anyone can use and appreciate!
How to Make Love Lunches:
- Let the children decorate brown paper bags. Pictures, encouraging Bible verses…. anything that may bring a smile to someone's face! (Don't get hung up on this step… the bags don't actually have to be decorated, it's just a fun added bonus!)
- Place a bottle of water in each bag. Here in Texas, water is the first thing people reach for.
- Fill the rest of the bag with non-perishable, whole food treats. Some ideas are fruit cups, applesauce cups, trail mix, juice boxes, raisins, pouches of pureed fruit, dried fruit. Please resist the temptation to include junk food which is cheaper, but it's not healthy. Feeding somebody unhealthy “food” is not a blessing to their body.
- Place the love lunches in your car. At least a few should be within easy reach when you are driving. (That's for times when you meet a homeless person standing at a traffic corner… Elizabeth's experience is that homeless people are more thankful for a bottle of water than a handful of change.)
I've mentioned a couple of people who would be blessed by receiving a Love Lunch! Who else would enjoy this surprise gift? Offer your suggestions in the comments!