December 26, 2018
“Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” Ephesians 5:2 (NLT)
Have you ever approached a drive-thru window prepared to pay for your order, only to be told the customer before you already paid your bill?
It is a wonderful experience to be the recipient of an unexpected blessing. Once the initial shock ends, your momentary joy is met with a request: “Would you like to pay it forward, ma’am?”
Pay It Forward chains are uncommon, but the customers at Starbucks in Newington, Connecticut, kept their random act of kindness going for days.
It started Christmas Eve morning, Tuesday, December 24, 2013. The first customer paid for her drink and left the money for the customer next in line. One customer after the next, some prompted and others not, paid it forward perpetually for four days.
This Pay It Forward chain came to an end on Saturday, December 28, around 6 p.m., 1,468 customers later.
Over 2,000 years ago, God Paid It Forward! (John 3:16).
He knew we couldn’t afford the sin-debt we owed, so He sent His only Son, Jesus, to pay our bill. Jesus continued the chain by giving up His life as an offering for our sin.
Here comes the follow-up question. Actually, it is not a question, but more of a command:
Pay It Forward!
“Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God” (Ephesians 5:2).
In the original Greek, this verse commands us to walk in love. The word “walk” suggests a movement, an action. A continual pace of lifting and setting down each foot until you get from point A to point B and beyond.
Why are we called to walk in love, or shall I say walk around loving? We walk in love because it has already been done for us. God gave, followed by Jesus giving, and now it is our turn.
For a believer in Christ, “Paying It Forward” is not a question — it is a way of life. God loved us until it hurt. And Jesus’ love was demonstrated in a death penalty He did not earn. How can we experience the love God paid forward and fail to pass it on?
Those customers in Connecticut didn’t set out to make the news or break a record. They received, and they gave; it’s that simple. Now it’s our turn.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the sacrificial gift You provided when You gave Your only Son Jesus for my sin. Lord Jesus, You offered Your life by going to the cross in my place. I am indebted to You. May I never forget to give as it has been given to me. Help me to commit to paying it forward for Your Name’s sake. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (NKJV)
Proverbs 11:25, “Generosity will be rewarded: Give a cup of water, and you will receive a cup of water in return.” (CEV)
Do you find yourself wanting to write but not knowing where to begin? It’s easy to let excuses and even fear get in the way of pursuing your calling.
Today’s devotion author is a member of COMPEL Training, an online membership for writers. COMPEL gives you access to all the tools you need to make your writing goals a reality. Join a community of writers just like you, and start chasing after your dream. Click here to learn more!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How does it make you feel when you receive an unexpected gift? When was the last time you initiated a season of giving?
Identify someone to bless with an unexpected demonstration of love. Plan an appropriate gift. Remember gifts don’t have to be expensive (i.e. quality time). We’d love to see you share your thoughts about how you can demonstrate Christ’s love to someone (perhaps even a stranger) and pay it forward this week.
© 2018 by Calvonia Radford. All rights reserved.
Originally published Wednesday, 26 December 2018.