Paying it forward. It’s a lot of fun, and if you haven’t done it – I highly recommend it. It’s just fun to cheer people up, and those at the drive-through windows usually get a kick out of the gesture. And it’s also fun to glance in the rear view mirror and see the look of surprise on the face of the person you just blessed. I’ve often gotten a big wave out the window. It’s a nice way to start the day.
But – What about when that “wave” doesn’t come? What if the person taking your debit card for the person behind you’s bill is absolutely stoic, and doesn’t bother to say, “Oh my, that is soooo kind of you!”
Does your attitude change to one of, “Wow, they didn’t even say anything about what I just did!” Or, “Wow, they didn’t even wave to say thank you.”
If that’s your attitude, then your heart was not in the right place to really be “paying it forward.” That was MY attitude one morning about a month ago when I stopped for a yogurt on my way through Mcdonald’s drive-through.
I tried telling the person at the window that I wanted to PAY for the person behind me’s meal. They had a lot of trouble understanding, and trying very simply to explain I just wanted to pay their bill, I found myself becoming frustrated. I mean, “why is this so difficult to understand?” I thought!
Finally, the window employee ran my debit card twice, I paid the bill of the woman behind me, received my breakfast in a bag, and off I drove. But I stopped briefly before turning onto the road, and waited expectantly for the “thank you wave” that would surely come, as a reward for that kind gesture I just did. After all, I thought, I deserved it!
But no one waved, and I thought to myself, “Wow, how rude.”
I still didn’t realize that if my serving came with an expectation, then my HEART was in no condition to be doing a good deed. I had actually made it all about me, and thought that I “deserved” a thank you for my kind gesture. Upon arriving at the car dealer where I had a morning appointment for an oil change, I sat down in the waiting area and opened the bag with my yogurt in it. And there in the bag was both my yogurt AND the breakfast belonging to the person behind me. Not only had I paid for her breakfast, I had indeed RECEIVED her breakfast.
Immediately, I was reminded of Matthew 6:1-4, that says, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you. “
It’s easy to do, to expect recognition, applause, or popularity for our good deeds. We’re human, and the Lord not only understands – He expects we will have times that our hearts need a “check” by the Holy Spirit, and I am so grateful today for that “spirit check!”
But on that particular morning, I had indeed received exactly the reward I “deserved” – Nothing but an Egg McMuffin!
What about you? I encourage you to join me in a real “heart check” when we participate in some “serving” opportunity, be it at the soup kitchen, providing goods for the homeless, or whatever the case may be. And join me in having no expectations for a reward or a reaction from others. Join me in looking foward to our eternal reward – so very much more than an Egg McMuffin!