Avoid using plastic bags
Arm yourself with your most impressive cotton bag and turn heads as you strut yourself Kate Moss-stylee (or David Gandy) down your local supermarket aisle. Next time you visit the supermarket, do your bit for the environment and say “no” to plastic bags.
Buy one, give one free
It can be easy to buy more than we need, especially when confronted by a supermarket’s BOGOF offer on our absolutely FAVE bar of chocolate. Read Exodus 16 and as you reflect on God’s daily provision, take up the supermarket’s offer and give the extra away instead.
Clear out your wardrobe
And donate your too large/too small yet still loved wares to your local charity shop. While you’re there, why not pay a little extra for that bargain-priced jacket that finally goes with THAT pair of trousers.
Donate the change
In the UK, the average household has approximately £50 in spare change hibernating behind the sofa or sitting around in jam jars. Set your bronze and silver free from your overloaded wallet by popping them in your church or work’s charity collection box.
Eat like a veggie!
Going meat free is not just for vegetarians. If committed to regularly, eating meat free meals can have a positive impact on your health and also on the environment.
A study conducted by the University of North Carolina showed that hugs can increase levels of oxytocin, a “bonding” hormone, and reduce blood pressure – which cuts the risk of heart disease. Get hugging today!
Go and do thou likewise
Carry an apple, sandwich or umbrella in readiness to give it away to a homeless person, or make time to buy a hot drink for someone in need on a cold winters day. See people the way Jesus would see them, through the eyes of love.
Hurl your plastic cup into the bin (for the last time)
Vending machines in the UK will dispense three billion polystyrene cups in one year alone. Get yourself a proper mug. Use it, wash it, love it. Your coffee will taste even better knowing that you’ve done a little bit more for the environment.
I love you
There we said it. Not exactly the ‘British’ thing to do but we just had to let you know. Now say it to that special someone in your life.
Round up the most musical people you know and do your absolute darnest to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. Share the fruits of your labour with others and donate any money raised to a charity.
Kiss the lift goodbye
Commit to using the stairs instead of lifts or escalators wherever possible. When you have reached the landing and take those few minutes to calm your beating heat, reflect for a moment and thank God for the wondrous place we call Earth.
Live like an asylum seeker
Could you live on a small food parcel and £8 a week? 100,000 refused asylum seekers in the UK do just that. Why no take up the food parcel challenge and live like an asylum seeker for one week. Your food parcel consists of £8 cash (£1.14 per day) and some basic staples; beans, rice, pasta, sugar, tins of vegetables, some coffee, tea with a couple of pieces of fruit. Go to www.boaztrust.org.uk for a full list.
Measure your carbon footprint
Traffic jams are noisy, smelly and annoying. They also give off loads of carbon dioxide which makes floods and droughts more likely. Why not calculate your carbon footprint. We have a link to a good online calculator here. Then get on your bike and give the money you save on fuel to a charity.
News watching, do it differently
When watching the news we often forget that we’re not just helpless bystanders. We worship a God who listens to our prayers and is able to intervene in even the most hopeless of situations. Each of us has the opportunity to make a real difference to the stories we see every day.
Open your eyes
Pain is all around us; it’s an unfortunate part of the world we inhabit. Make it your business to see the hurting, broken people. Whoever they are, get alongside them and try to comfort them or meet a need, no matter how small.
Practice makes perfect
Becoming a generous person requires first receiving the free gifts of God, and then performing repeated acts of generosity, so that it becomes a habit for us. What generous action could you repeat to ensure it remains a habit?
Question your comfort zone
Join that new fitness class, jump out of that plane, make the call you’ve spent weeks putting off, say ‘yes’ to that church speaking opportunity that makes you a little nervous. Get the old heart pumping and do something that gets you out of your comfort zone.
Be an evangelist for planned, regular giving today. Take a risk and tell people how much good it does you – and others – to offer regular support to those in need.
Say thank you
Living with lots of criticism and no thanks can harden people. Take some time to write a letter of thanks to someone who has been influential in your life – it could be a teacher who helped you as a child or even a politician whose work has made your community better.
Turn off the TV
In the age of digital and online communication, it’s surprising how little time we can spend communicating with the person sitting next to us on the sofa of an evening. Switch off the TV/laptop/mobile phone, dust off that favourite board game and have evening of good old fashioned interaction.
Use words carefully
Your words can have powerful effect on those around you, so get into the habit of choosing gracious and positive language.
Value your local shops
Local shops are often a point where the community meets and you stand a much better chance of meeting people you know. Sadly, small shops are under threat, and “use them or lose them” really is true.
Xin chào, Bonjour, or ‘Hola’ to our Spanish friends – learn to say hello in another language.
Make a decision to intentionally look out for those with whom you would not normally associate and choose to connect with them.. Say ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in another language and try and use them today with someone.
Yes, cake making is good for you
It’s the eating part that’s a little more questionable. Dig out your favourite cake recipe and go baking crazy! Leave a plate of your little tasty wonders at home, work or church.
Zest for life
Consider someone in your local community who could really do with a friendly gesture. Bake a cake, write a card or spend time with someone who might be lacking company. Pray that God would give you a kind spirit and a willingness to respond to need.
Challenged by these generous acts?
Why not sign up to the 40acts Lent challenge, a brainchild of Christian charity Stewardship? It starts on Wednesday 22 February 2012 and will challenge you to ‘do Lent generously’ this year by taking part in 40 simple acts of generosity over the 40 day period of Lent.