Many people have heard or used the term ‘Pay it Forward’ when talking about doing good deeds. That statement has gotten me thinking on more than one occasion, and I finally sat down and decided to study a little deeper into what paying it forward means. The term first arose in my mind when the movie “Pay It Forward” was released back in 2000. In that film a young boy named Trevor uses a class project to devise an idea to change the world. His idea: to do three acts of kindness, for three different people, who in turn would do the same for three others…a plan that would better Mankind.
Another example that was released around the same time was a song, released by Clay Walker, titled “Chain of Love”. The lyrics are a powerful story, told in song, about a woman who breaks down with a flat tire, a man who changes the tire, refuses any type of payment by saying, “Don’t let this chain of love end with you.” The lady is then in a diner and her waitress is around 8 months pregnant; she leaves a large tip with a note on a napkin, stating the same words. The song then reveals that the pregnant waitress is the man’s wife.
Two stories with the same plot…pay it forward.
Upon further study however, I realized that the Idea has been around since before time began. God has always used this method to reach His children. You can see it in the Garden of Eden, when God asks Adam to take care of His creation…with the promise that Adam would be taken care of…pay it forward.
We see it again throughout the Old Testament, with many acts of kindness being offered down through the generations.
But the greatest example of paying it forward took place around two thousand years ago…you might know the story…when a man named Jesus carried out His Father’s will by hanging on a cross. Throughout Jesus’ ministry we see many accounts of paying it forward.
When Jesus heals the blind man, Jesus tells him to go tell others. When Jesus heals a paralytic, he tells the man to share the good news. When he heals the harlot who touches his robe…go and sin no more. Jesus believed in paying it forward…still having doubts? Look to the cross!
The story of the cross starts in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prays to his Father, assuring God that His will would be accomplished. Jesus then prays for the 12 who had followed him faithfully, asking for protection…and then prays for those who would hear their message…Jesus prayed for us. He then died on a cross, our cross…with our nails in his hands and feet…with our crown of thorns on his head….taking a spear in our place…dying so that we might live.
The price he asks us in return? To pay it forward.
Matthew 25:40 states, “Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me” – pay it forward…
Matthew 28:18-20 says, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” – pay it forward…
The idea of paying it forward was central to Jesus ministry…whatever good deed has been done for you…do the same for others.
So the next time you’re faced with a situation in which you have the opportunity to do a good deed for someone, remember the good that has been done for you…and pay it forward. This world may seem to be a cruel place…but paying it forward offers great reward; because the ultimate gift was given with that in mind. The cross is the ultimate gift…where Jesus took our sin, paid the price we should have paid…and simply said to each of us, “Pay it forward…tell others about the gift I have given…share the news that their life was saved too…don’t let this chain of love end with you…please, pay it forward.”
Now its your turn…pay it forward!