He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 NRSV)
Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life and honor. (Proverbs 21:21 NRSV)
Paying it forward is not a new concept. The 2000 movie, Pay It Forward, based on Catherine Ryan Hyde’s book of the same name, sparked an almost cult-like following according to Wikipedia, as a way to invoke positive change worldwide.
Paying it forward, though, didn’t originate with this movie or book.
King David was an amazing, real-life example of the concept of paying it forward–expressing gratitude for the kind acts of others by performing a kind act to someone else. From the moment David set foot in Saul’s palace as a young teen, he and Saul’s son Jonathan were best friends. “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself,” 1 Samuel 18:1 recounts.
As David’s ability as a warrior grew and his popularity increased, King Saul became more and more jealous. It soon became apparent that Saul would stop at nothing to have David killed. At great personal danger, Jonathan warned David to flee for his life and delayed Saul in pursuing him. Years passed while Saul chased David in a murderous rage. Jonathan lost his life in battle, and God finally fulfilled his promise to make David King of Israel. But he never forgot the kindness of Jonathan. And he paid it forward.
Random acts of kindness are happening each day. You might drive through the drive through window to hear “The person in front of you just paid your bill.” You might be at the gas station and someone pays for your tank of gas. You might be treated to something you were not expecting. Last week someone unexpectedly paid for my breakfast on my day off. It is time for me to pay it forward.
As we enter this holiday season what are some ways we could offer gestures of kindness? How many of us have been recipients of someone’s kindness to us? What if we all participated in paying kindness forward? Who would least expect to have an act of kindness from us? Kindness could look like writing an encouraging note, sending a get well card, anonymously donating to a cause, paying someone else’s bill, or ____[your idea here].
Prayer: Dear Gracious and Very Kind God, We would like to thank You for Your great kindness to us. We are so blessed and grateful for the many kindnesses we have received. Grant us ideas and ways in this season to spread Your kindness through us to those who might least expect to receive kindness from us. Amen.