Sometimes it’s in the coffee line where a Good Samaritan starts a chain of paying for the order behind them. Maybe it’s been in the restaurant where someone pays for the elderly couple sitting by them. It could even be the person who bakes cookies for the police officers that serve their community.
Whatever it is, we’ve all heard of someone ‘paying it forward’. We may have even been that person that started, or continued, the chain of good deeds. Hopefully, you aren’t the chain breaker, we’ll leave that one to Jesus.
Performing simple acts of kindness will cause others to do the same.
As Christians, we are held accountable for more than just our financial choices. We have a tremendous responsibility to reach Christ on behalf of those around us. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely believe in giving. The Bible specifically commands us to give (Proverbs 19:17 and Proverbs 22:9).
But we know that money can only buy us tangible things. It can’t make us happy, feed our spirit, or give us a chance at eternal life. While it can help to provide, it cannot fulfill the hands-on need of the people.
Take Peter and John for example (Acts 3). They come across a lame beggar on their way to the temple. The lame man asked money of them, but they gave him so much more. They shared the gift of Christ with him, and he received healing. Isn’t Christ better than money?
Five ways that Christians could pay it forward.
1. Pray for someone
Prayer is one of the most valuable tools a Christian can muster. Whether it be a moment in the grocery store, a quick prayer when the Lord lays them on your heart, or even a burden for them in your daily prayer time. By praying for someone, you are lifting them up before Christ, you are placing them on the altar, and you are calling upon God on their behalf. Prayer still changes things.
2. Fast for someone
When you fast, you are putting your bodily needs aside to feed your spiritual ones. This sacrifice unto God puts your flesh in its place and helps to strengthen your spirit. So when you fast for someone else, you are essentially putting that person’s need for a spiritual breakthrough before your own.
3. Share a scripture with someone
This is the only book that was inspired by God and written by men who absolutely loved Him. It’s the only book that includes eye-witness accounts of Jesus’s works while he was on Earth. It’s an amazing story of God’s love, mankind’s redemption, and everything in between. One simple scripture could tear down, encourage, or completely change a person’s life. Read your Bible daily and ask Christ to help you to share it with others in His perfect timing.
4. Tell Someone about Jesus
Imagine Jesus with the woman at the well in Samaria (John 4). Being led by God, He led her to a redeemed life. In turn, she told a whole city about this man named Jesus. Christ knew the need. He told the disciples that he ‘must needs’ go by Samaria. It was absolutely necessary. Now apply this thought to your life and think about how crucial it is in your life to tell people about God. You may be their only chance to ever know about God’s divine plan!
5. Let your light shine
Though Christ tells us not to proclaim our good deeds before men in order to be seen, we don’t have to be closet Christians. The Bible actually tells us that there should be a defining line between Christians and the world. Our speech, our deeds, our appearance, our spirit, and our works should all be factors that separate us from the non-believer. So whether it’s praying before a public meal, telling someone that Jesus loves them, smiling at someone who looks down, holding the door open for someone, offering prayer in a time of need- anything that allows Jesus to be known is an effort to share the good news of the Gospel.
These few things may seem trivial, but each one serves an important role in shedding a light to the unbeliever or even encourage the believer. They may not hurt your wallet, but sometimes they hurt your pride.
You could pay it forward every day, with no money down, by practicing these five good deeds!