“How much?” you ask as the barista sets your latte on the counter.
“Nothing. It’s been paid by the customer before you.”
“Then pass this on for me,” you reply, smiling, handing him a ten-dollar bill. “I’ll pay it forward.”
Paying it forward is popular in our culture – showing good will, usually to a stranger, with an act of kindness or grace. The recipient expresses gratitude by giving to someone else. Have you received grace from another? Did you respond?
A man named Paul experienced a different kind of grace; divine grace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. In an act of unmerited grace, Christ exerted His holy influence upon Paul’s soul and in a dramatic way turned Paul’s heart and mind to God. Instead of being condemned by Christ for persecuting Christ-followers, Paul was redeemed and forgiven. Rather than living in regret for past actions, Paul served Christ in a ministry of hope and healing.
After encountering the living God, Paul traveled extensively sharing the truth about Christ. When he found others who believed Jesus was the Son of God and long-awaited Messiah and Savior, Paul often remained with these men and women for months or years, to teach and mentor them in the faith. If he couldn’t teach in person he appointed someone to instruct them, mentoring through his letters. Paul paid it forward.
Have you been touched by God’s grace? Are you faithful in sharing the blessings received? Are you paying it forward?
“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 4, Verse 7
NOTE: To learn more about Paul’s first encounter with Christ, read The Book of Acts, Chapter 9, Verses 1-31.