It’s been a little while since my last Live Like it Matters Challenge. The challenges were initially a weekly feature posted on Wednesdays but lately I’ve issued them on different days and not weekly. I will continue to issue the challenges randomly for now.

My challenge to you today is to think about the next person, then act accordingly. You probably already do this. Like when you take your empty grocery cart to the corral, you’re thinking of the guy who will park his shiny new car in the parking lot AND the clerk who has to gather the carts to take them into the store.

My dad was the most excellent Next One Thinker I’ve known and actually inspired this challenge.  More than a year past his death and one of his small acts of “nextness” was appreciated by my husband the other day. The screws to the flat screen TV mount were taped to the bottom of the TV just in case the NEXT person wanted to mount it to a wall. Some would have thrown the screws away. Dad didn’t because he was thinking of the next person. The way Dad kept up with his tools, and his finances….the way he installed anything with extra safety measures…..the way he left us notes about where he kept documents….the way he taught us to be generous with our time and resources……all because he was thinking of the next person.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Another way you already think of the next person – I HOPE YOU DO THIS – is when you replace the empty toilet paper roll.  Do one even better and when the roll is almost empty, put a new roll close by so no one is caught without enough TP.

You’re a Next One Thinker when you don’t put the milk jug in the refrigerator if there’s only enough milk left to soak one corn flake. Why? Because the next person has no need for one teaspoon of milk. You do the better thing by using the milk, drinking it, or even pouring it down the drain, but you do not put the milk jug back in the refrigerator.

The next person is blessed by you thinking of them and doesn’t even know it. But they surely know it if you don’t think of them.

We’ve all experienced the frustration of someone NOT thinking of the next person. You’ve been sitting on the toilet when you realized there’s not enough toilet paper or worse, no toilet paper.  Or poured yourself a big bowl of Cocoa Puffs and reached into the fridge for the milk jug and discovered there’s not enough there for a mouse. And you think, “Why did someone do this?  How selfish and cruel?”

Don’t be selfish and cruel!  Think of the next person.  Jesus said it best, “Do to others as you would have them do to you”.

There are thousands of ways to think of the next person. At home, in your job, at the grocery store, the bank or school. Even in traffic. Yes, traffic. Let someone merge!  Don’t flip them off and/or make a scowling disapproving face.

Refill the copier with paper. Take good notes for a fellow student that’s absent because of the flu. Clean off your table before you leave Taco Bell. Load the dishwasher so that the dishes get as clean as possible. Take the weird flavored Greek yogurt back to the dairy aisle that you decided you didn’t want. Clean up your popcorn and candy wrapper mess before you leave the theater.

Think of the next person. We tend to forget how much it matters to do the small, kind, extra things.  IT MATTERS.  A lot.

But here’s the thing:  you will probably never hear a thank you for it.

Do it anyway.

When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others.
Philippians 2: 3-4 NCV

22 thoughts on “Next

  1. Oh my, you made me laugh when you mentioned the toilet paper! It is encouraging to read the different ways you have described about how to be mindful and think of the next person, and discover that I already do many of these things. And you’re right, I don’t look for or expect a thank you. well, except for maybe the toilet paper, it would be nice to get a thank you for every once in awhile for keeping it stocked so no one gets caught without 🙂

    All the best in 2016, Marie!

  2. Terrific, as always!! Have thought of you the last couple of days–I’ve been out dog-jogging (my own personal sporting event, a slow jog with my furry partner, Buckley). Thanks for being such an encouragement in creatively different ways! (OH! And happy new year!!)

    1. Dawn how wonderful. I would dog-jog too but the family dog is a bit too curious about the horses and cows on our country roads and he scares them to half to death. Happy New Year and many blessings for 2016.

  3. Hi…I’m a new follower here and I really enjoyed this post. It was inspiring and a great reminder to ““Do to others as you would have them do to you”. I already do some of the things you mentioned, but now I’m going to try to be even more aware of the next person.

    Great post…thanks for sharing it!

    Melissa 🙂

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