I don’t know if this has ever happened to you before, but it’s pretty cool when the person ahead of you in a drive through line pays for your meal. I have done it for others but never have had someone do it for me, that is until today.
I ordered food, got to the window to pay and the nice lady said, “Hey the person in front of you paid for your meal.” How awesome I thought, but then she followed with this, “The person also said that you should pay for the person behind you.”
I only had seven bucks on me at the time so I had already been carefully about what I ordered at this particular, kind of pricey, fast food restaurant. The woman at the window informed me that the persons meal behind me was close to what I was going to pay, so I paid for their meal as to not look like a jerk.
That’s not paying it forward. Paying it forward involves doing something nice for someone expecting nothing in return so that your act may inspire the person to do something likewise. The person in front of me, while their intentions may have been good, wasn’t being a blessing they were just starting a weird game of everyone else pay for someone else’s meal. Where’s the blessing in that?
When we give and serve others we are called to be selfless. To give of our time, money, and stuff without expecting something in return. That’s the greatest and most inspiring way to “pay it forward.” In the below passage from Luke 6 Jesus talks about serving even our enemies without expecting anything in return.
“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. -Luke 6:35-36
The person who paid for my meal “paid it forward” expecting me to do something for someone else. This is quite the opposite of paying it forward. There is no blessing in expecting something in return.
When we do something for others we should expect nothing in return. We give because what we have is first and foremost a gift from God. We are giving back and sharing what God has given us.
So be a blessing to someone today, just do it without the expectation of anything in return. That’s when your gift will inspire others to do likewise.
Do you have some good examples of how to “pay it forward” and bless other people selflessly?