The most profound gifts are gifts without any expectation of a future return. Each of us has a toolkit of gifts that are pretty specific to us – and, needed by someone else, who couldn’t repay like for like. It could be financial. It could be a particular talent that’s unique to you. Use it and give it away to someone who can’t repay it. 

 Choose how you’ll complete today’s act:
Know what somebody needs but can’t get a hold of themselves? Maybe they’re an older person, or less mobile. Go out of your way to help get it.  

Know someone who needs a listening ear, some advice, comfort? Give them the gift of something they couldn’t give themselves.

Know an in-demand skill that could help someone? Even if it’s something you’d usually be paid for – DIY skills, building, or cooking up a feast? Give it away for free.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
(1 Peter 4:10 NIV)

Your thought for today:

‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’ – right? But what happens when we offer a no-strings-attached gift to someone? A simple something-for-nothing gesture, a reassurance that someone cares, that there are those in the community willing to offer help without payment, love with no expectation of reciprocation?

The initiative – Brighter Bristol – works with various agencies to offer help to vulnerable individuals and households. They may be refugees, victims of domestic abuse, or those struggling with physical or psychological challenges. They are often very isolated and in desperate need of help and encouragement.

While we can’t begin to directly address these complex and varied needs, we can make a difference by offering practical support in the form of children’s clothing, furniture and equipment, and also by coordinating teams of volunteers to visit homes and put their DIY or gardening skills to good use.

Our hope is that these practical responses, which show love and care, open the door to longer-term, deeper relationships.

When we visited one family 18 months ago who live around the corner from us, the initial brief was to strip and paint a bedroom, which we did together with the kids whose bedroom we were decorating. This led to a strong relationship with not only their family but their cousins. With seven kids in each family it meant a good deal of noisy, messy and boisterous fun! Both families came along to our church’s summer camp – delightfully shaking up our middle-class order! The kids have regularly come to church and to a youth camp, we’ve been to their birthday parties and fireworks night, they’ve been to a baptism, we take their kids to school some days and so on – we’re just doing life together.

The point is, by offering a little one-way help, with no strings attached, the door can be opened to a relationship that takes root, grows and flowers over time.

Written by Emma Simmonds from Brighter Bristol
Brighter Bristol Storehouse is an initiative (of Severn Vineyard Church) aiming to contribute to the social renewal of the city, making Bristol a brighter place to live and work. We have an amazing team of volunteers who facilitate our various projects and aim to make a difference everywhere they go. 

Watch Susan’s 40acts story as inspiration for today’s challenge!
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