Jesus now called the Twelve and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. He commissioned them to preach the news of God’s kingdom and heal the sick. He said, ‘Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment.’Luke 9:1-3 (The Message)
Every year, the 40acts team here at Stewardship shortlist dozens and dozens of different ideas for 40acts actions – some of them are reflective, others require a bit of bravery, and 40 there are always a couple of wildcards thrown in for fun. No matter how hard we try, you always outdo us with your originality and creativity!
Last year I was really inspired by the stories of random 'chocolating' that occurred globally throughout the challenge. One busy rush hour a 40acts challenger announced free chocolate for her entire train carriage. Within a few minutes, another challenger saw her friend (who was on the same train) tweet about their eventful journey home. This was generosity unfolding real-time!
Another 40acts group left chocolate bars hidden across Guernsey. A few months later a backpacker from Germany, named Franzi, came across the gift and tracked 40acts down on Facebook because they wanted to say thank you.
Those stories of strangers connecting – over something as small as chocolate – make me smile wider than Willy Wonka.
It reminds me that God can take something, even something as silly and fun as a hidden chocolate bar, and use it to do wondrous things. A bit like the little boy who brings his lunch to Jesus on the mountains near Galilee. Five loaves and two small fish – barely a lunch in itself and certainly not enough to feed thousands. But you know how the story goes; enough lunch for everyone and even some spare. And all because one little boy took a chance and gave.
I'm still not entirely sure how Chocs Away (also known hereafter as #chocolatetuesday) made the 'yes' list, but I'm glad it did. The wonderful thing about 40acts is that it shows us how diverse generosity can be, and how fun. Whether you’re buying a box of Fairtrade chocolates to give out while you’re in the Post Office queue or Real Easter Eggs for your office, do it in the knowledge that simple generosity is often the best kind. And God can do immeasurably more with it than we can possibly imagine; even with a Curly Wurly.
Tomorrow's act might require a deep breath and some courage, but for today – chocolate. Or the sentiment behind it, at least.