Blessed are the givers: a reflection on the 40acts challenge

By Georgie Tennant | 14 March 2020

I had no idea that 40acts had such a big impact, before I was part of it. I had heard of it, and was delighted to be asked to write for it, last year, but I had no idea of the widespread nature of its reach. This first dawned reading a thread of a Twitter chat I’m part of, under the hashtag ‘Trusting Teachers’ – Christians from all walks of education, who share prayer requests and encouragement. The excited anticipation started in advance of launch day; people enthused about their enjoyment of the previous year’s and shared how they were planning to do versions of it, this year, with their primary-aged classes. I tentatively introduced myself as one of the writers, feeling the weight of expectation.

 

Knowing I was part of a world-wide community spurred me on to give 40acts my best shot – not just as a writer, but as a ‘punter,’ too. I didn’t succeed in following through on every act – but I threw myself wholeheartedly into some. Act 6, Chocolate Tuesday, prompted me to buy a stack of Malteaster Bunnies and find each of my colleagues. If you’ve ever seen how weary teachers react to offerings of sugar, you will be able to imagine the joy this brought – to me, seeing their faces light up, as well as to them.

 

Act 11, Hidden Heroes, inspired me to lie in wait for our postman and pursue him, like a madwoman, down our drive, brandishing a fizzy drink and a Dairy Milk. I hurriedly explained why I was thrusting random refreshments into his hands; his smile and his laughing thanks were all I needed to be sure I had improved his day – and it felt good.

 

When it came to my own act (24: Lost Signal, which was about getting in touch with lost friendships), I knew I needed to practice what I was preaching. Through Facebook Messenger, I contacted the three people I had mentioned in my post, telling them what a blessing they had been to me and sending them the 40Acts link. One didn’t respond, but the other two did, and yet again, I ended up feeling blessed in the process of reaching out. In a further surprise, a long-lost friend got in touch with me, inspired to do so by – you guessed it – my act!

 

There were some acts I found too challenging to contemplate doing – yet – such as reaching out to very tricky neighbours. But it made me think, pray and look for better ways forward. Generosity is a mind-set, a conscious choice and one that it is all-too-easy to let slide in the busyness of life. 40acts re-ignited my generosity mind-set and made me start to look for opportunities, beyond the specific acts of particular days.

 

One Sunday, mid Lent, I met a new lady at church, who had recently moved here, from France. Her daughter was taking her GCSEs and was struggling. I felt that gentle prompting I had felt often, of late, to do more than just empathise. Taking a deep breath, I offered her some free tuition, as English teaching is my job. Without the 40acts mind-set, I’m not sure I would have even thought of it. We both went away feeling blessed. 

 

Giving is costly – but it is also a great blessing. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says that we should give what we have decided in our hearts to give, ‘not reluctantly, or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.’ I love the promise, earlier in that verse, that we will reap what we sow. By the end of 40acts, I felt that I had reaped more than enough already. This was the biggest surprise of all – that giving itself was the greatest reward. Seeing the delighted and grateful reactions of the recipients of the small things I did was more than enough to make me the most cheerful of givers, for a long time to come.


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40acts 2019: it's a wrap!

Spurring each other on to reckless generosity

Give and let give

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