We’re over halfway through the 40acts 2018 challenge - woohoo! This year thousands of people have joined us from all across the world to do something different this Lent. Our theme is Faith in Deed, focusing on putting our money where our heart is and our faith into action.
For act 14 of the challenge, Archbishop John Sentamu reflected on the importance of supporting local causes and our participants wasted no time in taking action. By 9 am, £4,600 had already been raised for the Christian charity Acts 435 (which partners with local churches and charities to help those in financial need). By the end of the day, the team at Acts 435 were overwhelmed to have received over £18,000 - you can read their blog to find out just how much that meant to them. Not only are our 40acts community willing but they are eager to give!
40acts has grown rapidly over the years and as a team we always want to remember the meaning behind it rather than getting wrapped up in the technical and functional side of running the challenge. During the launch, we reflected and shared on social media the reasons why we do what we do.
We live in a culture that’s used to looking out for ourselves only, and since everyone is doing it, it often seems normal, not selfish – but God-inspired generosity fuelled by loving care for others is at the heart of 40acts. One participant's story captured this perfectly:
After being diagnosed with cervical stenosis, Emily* lost the use of her left arm. She was successful in applying for a benefit allowance, but discovered that many people were unable to receive much-needed support because of the demanding nature of the application process.
“Not long after, someone asked me for help with their forms. Then someone else did. Then someone else did. Each time, I helped them secure the benefits they rightly deserved. Finally, I realised what God was doing. He has given me something very practical to do, to show His love to the weak and vulnerable in our society!”
Emily could easily have stopped and been satisfied once she’d sorted her own application, but she saw past herself and used her ability to help others. She found that being generous didn’t just involve money or resources but could also take the form of Christ-like compassion.
Sometimes when we reflect on the scope of the need in our world it can actually drive us away from action. We see so many struggling people that we wonder if our small deeds will do anything to help. But when we consider our 110,000-strong 40acts community, we realise that if each one of us looked out for a new person every day, we could positively impact the lives of nearly four and a half million people!
The challenge isn’t over yet… There are still plenty more acts to complete. In these final weeks, we have the potential to see real, radical generosity changing people’s lives. And we’re expectant that our 40acts community will inspire us again.