The most thrilling type of generosity is done when no one’s looking. When there’s no one to impress. So: give in secret. Act in the shadows. Leave anonymously before you’re noticed. And if you’ve struggled with generosity in the past, give this sort of anonymous giving a go – see if a switch goes on for you.
Choose how you’ll complete today’s act:
This could be a tricky act if you can’t keep a secret! Leave something anonymously for someone you know: a coffee on a desk, an encouraging letter taped to a car, a box of pastries left in the shared kitchen.
Think differently: tape some change to a car park machine. Or the office vending machine. Or, wheel all your street’s bins back after the lorry’s been. Three key words for this act: creative, helpful – and stealthy.
Leave something anonymously for someone you don’t know. This is your chance to do something you’d never do otherwise. You could jump onto a random wedding gift list, or pay for someone’s petrol before they make it into the shop.
“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
(Matthew 6:3–4 NIV)
Your thought for today:
Anonymous. Smacks of something impersonal doesn’t it? A faceless, nameless, featureless thing of unknown provenance. But when you put ‘anonymous’ together with ‘generosity’ and put it in the hands of the 40acts community it becomes something rich, inventive, full of colour, warmth and sheer personality.
Over the years we’ve asked you to tell us how you’ve got on with the challenges, and as a firm favourite ‘Anonymous’ has always overwhelmed us with stories that are at times funny, profound, moving and heart-warming.
Some stories have told of covers that were blown – sweets left on neighbours’ doorsteps, which led to cards, conversations and invitations and became the catalyst for new friendships. Another told of buying a meal for a couple in a restaurant and trying to sneak out quietly only to be caught up with at the entrance and hugged by the grateful recipient who admitted to being humbled by the generosity. She and her husband had been arguing and the spontaneous kindness had pulled them up short and made them realise how trivial their bickering had been.
There have been stories of thoughtful generosity that wanted to bless without fuss or ceremony. An envelope through the door of a family struggling to make ends meet with a simple note attached: ‘a Saturday evening treat for you all’. The mother later posted on social media that she felt ‘blessed and loved’ and excited that because of someone doing the 40acts of kindness they were able to have a takeaway dinner that evening.
Another 40acts follower told of a friend and her three boys who hadn’t had a holiday in several years but couldn’t afford to take up the offer of a cottage at a low price. Wondering what to do, she decided to anonymously give the money to cover the cost (along with a printout of the day’s act).
Some have taken a simple approach: the person who had been thankful for her boss’s kindness during her illness from work decided to send an anonymous ‘you are fabulous’ card to brighten his day. The mystery card sat on his desk as a daily encouragement that he was appreciated.
Then there was the act of forgiveness requiring a profound change of attitude to a family member. The person deliberately chose to do this anonymously, without telling the recipient of the forgiveness, and was astonished how the resultant change in their behaviour made a huge difference to the relationship. More than that, they acknowledged that it had made a huge difference to their faith.
These are just a few of the stories you have shared year on year, and no doubt for every story we get to hear about there are hundreds of others we haven’t. Generosity without fanfare, quietly blessing others in all sorts of ways.
Tell us what you’re up to today
Share your stories, ideas and adventures using #40acts on social media.
Send us a WhatsApp: +447468 404040
Send us an email: [email protected] and let us know how you’re getting on!