Monday, February 18, 2013

Pay it Forward

For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  

2 Timothy 1:5-6

The movie “Pay it Forward” is about a 7th Grader’s plan to make a difference in the world. On the first day of school, his social studies teacher challenges the class with this assignment: “Think of an idea to change our world—and put it into action.” Trevon’s idea is called “Pay it Forward”. He immediately puts it into action by helping a homeless drug addict. As the scene opens the homeless man is trying to explain to Trevon’s mother what is going on.  Trevon’s explanation of his plan to the class causes many of them to consider what kind of impact their lives could have.

I find in Trevon’s plan some principles from the Word of God that we should be putting into action in our lives. On the night before his crucifixion Jesus said to his disciples, “As I have loved you so you must love one another.” (John 13:34) He was about to commit the greatest act of kindness ever done. This sinless, precious Son of God was about to lay down his life on the cross for our salvation.

And as he said to those disciples he says to you and me, “Pay it forward. As I have loved you now you go and love others.” In Matthew 25 Jesus told the Parable of the Sheep and Goats. In that parable our great King said in verse 40 "The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”

Two thousand years ago by one righteous act Jesus set something in motion that continues to multiply today. It is multiplied through the millions of believers who respond to his love toward them by investing kindness into other people’s lives.

Have you ever seen some domino effect contest where they set up thousands of dominos spaced just right so that when one falls it starts a chain reaction that goes from domino to domino? That is a good visual depiction of the impact of our choices.  I am convinced that when we get to heaven we are going to be amazed at the impact our lives had.  All we see is the immediate impact.  We just see a few dominos out. But in reality everything you do is to some degree affecting other people. That is both good news and bad news.

The bad news is that wickedness is far more consequential that people usually imagine.  The good news is every right decision you make is impacting other people and other things, which are in turn having their influence.  The full effect of your life will go on for generation after generation. And the total effect has certainly not yet happened the day you die. Your life represents an awesome opportunity to invest in other people and watch the impact multiply.

In Psalm 78 we hear a powerful mandate for “Paying It Forward.”  Asaph begins by alerting us to the importance of what he is about to say. Psalm 78:1-2 “O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old—“  The message that is coming to us is something we had best pay attention to.  Ancient wisdom is about to be shared and only the open ear will hear it. Only the open heart will understand it.  Hidden in the words of this Psalm are keys to life and blessing.  

Scripture to Claim:
Their children, who have not known, will hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, Deuteronomy 31:13

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