Chocolate box evangelism

A few weeks ago some friends and I asked God a question: 'What 10 shops or people can we bless this afternoon?' We bought 10 milk tray boxes of chocolates and had a desire on our hearts to simply give them away, without any lengthy explanation or long winded writing of messages. Who was it that God wanted us to reach out with a symbol of grace?

The 10 reactions were all very different. Some wanted to know what the catch was; others thought it was some kind of set up or dare. Geoff was quite tearful as we passed on a box to him with our love for his wife, who was due to be in hospital the following week. He had shared his worry with us on and off in-between his job as a street cleaner.

The simple gesture seemed to connect something of the exuberant grace of God. Yes, it was simply a symbol and sign to the gift that is lavished upon this world, yet it in part pointed to that old story of grace that is new every morning.

My friend Glyn Jones, who heads up The Light Project in Chester, took a small team to a car boot sale on an early Sunday morning with the express purpose of wanting to show what grace is like. The team had come up with the idea of having a stall like no other made of all kinds of bric-a-brac collected from local churches.

Amongst the usual car-boot items were some valuable items. An iPod, pictures and some items of silver ware. When punters enquired how much certain items were the reply went something like this, 'Well, for you, its, ummm, how can I put it, it is, eh, well, it is free!' Soon a crowd gathered and there was a mini-uproar. 'This is absurd!' One man declared. You can't just give stuff away!

Glyn and the team insisted and then stipulated that the only condition in taking any of the objects on offer was that they couldn't then in turn offer anything back. It couldn't be swapped, or exchanged for kind offers of tea, coffee or bacon butties. The condition was simple. If they wanted an item, it had to be freely received. That’s it. One young lady spoke to her parents who had gathered at the stall and who were quite upset by this unusual car-boot stand: “Don't you see mum and dad; they're trying to show what grace is like.”

In what way can you show grace?

Chris Duffett is President elect of the Baptist Union in Great Britain and national evangelist with The Light Project, a group of people who aim to actively demonstrate the Christian message and train others to do the same.