Encouragement From The Word

Pay it forward

I’m not a big fan of drive-thrus, since, unless one drives a hybrid or an electric vehicle, they tend to be bad for the environment (and for physical fitness).  But there’s one thing I like about drive-thrus:  they’re the commonest places to find people “paying it forward”.

Do you know what I mean by that?  The whole “pay it forward” notion may well be quite old, but it has become more popular with the advent of drive-thrus.  Originally, it referred to repaying someone for their benevolence not by repaying the benefactor, but someone else in need.  Nowadays, it can be something as simple as paying for the order of the person behind you in the drive-thru.

What’s so neat about it is that if someone pays for your order, you can’t even thank the person, because she or he has already driven away.  It’s pure grace – undeserved favour.

As I’m going to discuss in my message this Sunday at St. Paul’s Church, Nobleton, this is a great way to illustrate the grace of God in our salvation.  When we come to faith in Christ, we aren’t simply called to be good, moral people – as if to appease God’s wrath.  We’re called to live as those saved by grace, to please God.  Our salvation isn’t dependent on what we do; it is the motivator for what we do.

When we pay for another person’s order in the drive-thru, that person is powerless to pay us back.  The hope is that she or he will do the same for another person at some point.  Likewise, God in Christ has paid for our sins – atoned for them on the cross – and we are powerless to pay God back.  By living for him, and demonstrating his grace in different ways, we are ‘paying it forward’.

What creative ways can you demonstrate the grace of God to others, both in word and in deed?

You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price” (1 Corinthians 6.19b-20a, NLT).