Pay it Forward
Note from Kip…
It’s not as common to hear of someone paying it forward today as it was a few years back, but this act of grace continues today and if you are a follower of Jesus, you need to be doing it as well.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14,16 (NIV)
The Christian and Paying it Forward
Christians have more cause to pay it forward than any other group of people.
Paying it forward is a demonstration of grace if you really stand back and look at it. You are sitting in a drive-up service line for your favorite fast food or coffee shop. The car ahead of you pulls away off in to the distance as you slowly inch forward toward the window. Upon reaching the window the person there tells you that your debt has been paid by the person whom you do not know that came before you.
Does this sound like a savior you know?
It should, it is a small demonstration of grace.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, we should be paying it forward all the time. I’m not suggesting that we pull up in front of every fast food restaurant and pay for the driver behind us. As I said, this scenario is a small demonstration of grace. While doing this you could drain your bank account quickly it wouldn’t necessarily further the Gospel.
If you feel like doing it on occasion, it certainly couldn’t hurt. Especially if with the payment you included a tract with a Gospel message on it.
One of my favorite tracts to pass out are the million-dollar Gospel tracts. You can often find them in Christian book stores. That would make your paying it forward at the local McDonald’s that much more impactful. If you don’t find them locally a quick web search will pull them up for you. Just type into your favorite search engine the words, “million dollar gospel tract”. The place I get these sell a pack of 100 for only $6 and if you by six packs the per hundred cost drops to only $4.
This mockup of a million-dollar bill unlike the real bill has a Gospel message on the reverse side.
Getting back to what I was pointing out, this gesture is but a small demonstration of grace but the illustration is valuable to us as followers of Jesus.
Jesus knew we were in debt. He did not wish us to pay that debt. So, He, God’s only Son, went before us an paid our debt in advance. In that, Christ demonstrated the highest form of ‘paying it forward’, His grace that He bestowed on us.
There is one key difference however, in the line at McDonald’s if someone pays for your meal ahead of you, there isn’t much if any opportunity to not accept the gift. Jesus in His paying it forward places that grace before us and we have to choose to accept that gift.
In that line at McDonald’s we could accept that gift and in turn pay for the next drivers’ meal. That is where I want to focus today.
Returning the Grace
But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me. Therefore, whether it is I or they, so we proclaim and so you have believed.
1 Corinthians 15:10-11 (HCSB)
We have had the grace of Jesus imparted to us. Just as we might be inclined to pay for the next person in the line at the fast food joint if the person ahead of us paid for ours, we should feel obliged to pass on the grace we’ve received and share it with others.
There are numerous ways in which we can do this. It can be in our speech, how we interact with others. It can and should be through our love we have for people, and not just the people that like us, all people. It should be in our sacrifice of our own interest on behalf of others. All are tokens of extending the grace given to us.
The one thing that extends this grace more so than anything else is to share the ‘Good News’ with those around us. If we’ve been given grace, there was a way that that message of grace got to us. It likely would have involved someone going out of their way to give you the Gospel, the Good News.
Jesus wants us to pay it forward by extending His grace by spreading His Gospel.
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)
Being a Disciple means making Disciples, followers. These two verses cannot be denied. They are not reserved for pastors. They were given by Jesus to you and me. Make Disciples!
How do we do that? Disciple making is a lifelong endeavor, but in its most concise explanation, Disciple making is the act of bringing someone up in the faith to be more like Jesus.
A Disciple is a follower of Jesus. He’s our teacher. Disciples seek to learn from the teacher and pattern their behavior after Him. The interesting thing He did was make Disciples, starting with his twelve Apostles who were in fact his first Disciples.
So, if we are going to emulate Christ as His Disciple, we need to be a Disciple maker ourselves. That means, we need people to lift up and help them be more and more in the image of the Master. Therefore, it is incumbent on the Disciple to not just be the teacher to those they assist in their walk with the Lord, but to spread that Good News to anyone and everyone we can.
In that way we pay grace forward. Just as Jesus paid it forward for us.