You've heard it said - "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
Those outside the faith typically aren't interested in knowing what you believe. They are probably more interested in knowing how you live out what you believe. "What difference does your faith make in the way you treat me or in the way you care for others?"
How can you meet genuine needs? Can you offer to baby-sit your neighbor's kids? Can you help your neighbor with a home-improvement project? Find out a need in their life right now - and offer to help meet that need. (If you don't know what they might need - Ask them!)
How could you give someone the gift of time? People are busy. You probably need more time in your day. Think of ways to give someone more time. Offer to pick up their kids and give them a ride home from practice or school. Offer to let someone go in front of you the next time you are standing in line at Starbucks or the grocery store. That's a gift of time. Give up a close parking spot to someone so that they don't have to walk as far - especially if it's someone that you know.
Encourage others. Send an encouraging note, e-mail, or text message. Tell them something you appreciate about them. Acknowledge their efforts. Celebrate their progress. Affirm their kids. These things are always encouraging. Give them the gift of your affirming words.
Who doesn't like gifts? I do - and I'm so grateful when someone gives me even the smallest gift. It's a tangible expression of care. If you like getting gifts, others you know probably do, too. Can you bake an apple pie for a neighbor? Can you buy a cup of coffee? Can you give someone a gift card? Gifts can open up an amazing opportunity for conversation.
Imagine how one of your friends who isn't a Christian yet would respond to really seeing that you care. As you serve, give gifts and time, and affirm others - it will create curiosity about why. And it might actually lead to a spiritual conversation about how you've become a less selfish person as you are following the ways of Jesus.
Consider: Who do you know in your circles of friendship that is an outsider to faith? What can you do this week to show that person that you care for them?
"For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me." -- Jesus (Mt. 25:35-36)
What matters to Jesus is tangibly caring for the needs of others! As you care for others, you help them to see the difference that God's grace has made in your life. Instead of being selfish, because of Christ, you are selfless and kind and tenderhearted and forgiving and caring!