I love the idea of paying it forward. I always smile when I read a post on Facebook that is thanking an unknown person for buying their coffee or lunch. I think those actions and posts inspire others to do similar things for other people. At work, I challenge new employees to do one thing for someone else each day. It can be as little a gesture as opening a door from them to letting them go first in the check out line to buying their lunch to wherever their mind leads them. The point is to train them to open their eyes to the needs of others.
Human nature has always look inward rather than outward. To break that habit and to begin looking to the needs of others, you have to challenge yourself to look up from your own life. Each of us have enough things going on in our lives that make us too busy, too poor, and too blinded to help others. We have excuses lined up as to why we don’t have the time or resources to help someone out.
The truth is, that simple gestures, like opening the door for someone, cost you no money or time. They are things you can easily do, but make a difference in others. Do you remember the Golden Rule? “Do for others what you want them to do for you” (Matt 7:12 GNB). If it’s a gesture you would appreciate, then do it for someone else first. Pay it forward so that you begin the chain reaction of people doing something good for someone else. The Golden Rule is a simple concept really, but it requires us to think beyond ourselves and to be the initiator in positive actions.
Decades after Jesus taught the Golden Rule, Paul was writing to Titus, a leader in the church, about the behaviors Christians should exhibit. In chapter 3 verse 8 he says, “I want you to give special emphasis to these matters, so that those who believe in God may be concerned with giving their time to doing good deeds, which are good and useful for everyone.” Doing good for others should be part of the DNA of all believers. It should be our concern to find things to do for others that are both good and useful.
So today, be on the lookout for people who you can do a good deed for. You’ll be surprised at how big a small gesture can be to some people. You’ll feel good in the process and who knows, it may even open up a door to share your faith or to pray for someone. Start today. Begin making an effort to look up from your life and you’ll find that opportunities abound for you to do good deeds for others. It’s an easy and effective way to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a world that desperately needs His presence.