Do Good Where You Are

So this past Sunday, I preached a sermon entitled “I Love NY” and one of the main points was to “Do Good Where You Are”.  It was a fun sermon to think about and prepare for, and I’ve been thinking about simple ways to love our city (or seek the “shalom” of the city). 

Sidenote: The Mets hat was borrowed from Frank Favilla, and the Yankees hat was borrowed from Mike Favilla, a fact in itself which can warrant a sermon on “household harmony despite differences”.

Anyhow, you can watch the sermon here:


Here’s a brief list of some simple things you can do to seek the shalom (wholeness, flourishing) of the city.  What would you add?

*Btw, I’d love to think of lists of “do good where you are” for different professions like finance folks, lawyers, social workers, etc.  Better yet, you can make a list for yourself!

1.  Pray – Pray for your family, your friends, your neighbors, the government, your workplace, the economy, arts & recreation, commerce, etc.  Pray for how God might use you today to do good in our world.

2.  Keep a Sabbath – I know this might seem counterintuitive, but the more you’re at shalom, the more shalom you can give away!  Sabbath-keeping is just one way to do this.  Remember to love your neighbor as yourself, not at the expense of yourself.

3.  Smile and Say Hello – I know this is pretty straightforward, but I do want to mention that this might be a different experience for men and for women in the city.  It really stinks that this world can often feel like an unsafe place (esp for women when it comes to encounters with strangers), and I do believe this action (along with the rest listed here) should be accompanied by wisdom.

With that said, please smile and say hello. : )

4.  Ask Questions and Listen – This one applies to spouses, parents, children, students, employees, employers, etc, (in other words, it applies to everyone!)

“Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference”.  – David Augsberger

5.  Say Thank You –  Better yet, say thank you when it’s expected AND say thank you when people don’t expect it.  Here are some tag lines you could use:

“I appreciate when you…”

“I’m thankful for you because…”

This is a great way to create community in your home, neighborhood, and yes, even your workplace or school!  Rich gave a great sermon on this here.

6.  Give – I think it’s important to give monetarily, but also with one’s time and energy.  Maybe it’s volunteering somewhere for 1-2 hours/week.  Maybe it’s starting to give a percentage of your income away, or if you already give a percentage or tithe (10%), maybe it’s increasing your giving by 1% (so from 2 to 3% OR 10% to 11%) and making the necessary adjustments to your lifestyle.

What would you add to this list?

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6 responses to “Do Good Where You Are

  1. hey drew, I think you are such a profound gift to the kingdom work. I think that one thing that has helped me to think about “simple things” that are stepping stones to “deeper things” so that our heart is transformed to seek engagement and not doing them for a posture of being acquitted from our guilt of not doing. But rather I find that we when we are stirred with finding means to declare ourselves from any pang of guilt. So we often do the simple things for that purpose but I think the gospel calls us forth because we see the activity of blessing is an outworking of our adoption as objects of grace. So in that fullness we are brought into an affinity towards what are God’s heart for the broken people of the city. So, I think that the narrative is based on what is our story in God’s story and how he is forming that in us. I always find that we flourish in the areas where we have certain affinities. If you are an artist, bless people with your art. If you are a scholar, use the scholarship as a passion for blessing others, I just find that we overstretch ourselves in areas for the sake of stretching. But be exactly where you are and the way your are formed and move from there. Those are steps that filled with simple depth. Those are my humble thoughts.

    • thanks so much for the thoughts, peter. i think you’re right on with the source of an affinity outward – it certainly makes Christianity so unique.

  2. I always remember the summer I needed a place to stay in the city. One friend rented floor space in her studio for one month. Other friends let me stay at their places for two weeks’ each. And, the guy I was seeing gave me a week at his place when he was away. This made it possible for me to work at one of my most fun jobs ever, at a day camp in Manhattan. To this day, I am so grateful. I felt that I connected better with my friends and the city that summer.

  3. Hey Drew,

    I didn’t get to go to church this week, but I just watched your sermon online. This was a great message, and it completely spoke to me as I am one of those native New Yorkers who takes things for granted and is in a constant state of wanderlust.

    I guess I don’t have any big plans for changing New York (at the moment), but one thing I’m inspired to do today is to buy candy for my co-workers…I’ll bring in a bag today and see what chocolate will do to them. Ha.

    Again, great message and keep up the good work!

    -susie

    • i wish my co-workers would get the same inspiration 🙂 thanks for bringing shalom to your work!

      i think candy counts in the lexical range of shalom.

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