Pay It Forward

Dear MLC Family,

You have a role in God’s plan for the church—the very same one described by the Apostle Paul. After reminding Timothy to never be ashamed of the Gospel, Paul tells him in to “pay it forward.”

2 Timothy 2:1-2—“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (If you missed it, that’s four generations!)

Pay It Forward is the title of a film drama released in 2000 which introduced the term “pay it forward” into the American vocabulary. The film is set in Las Vegas and chronicles 11-year-old Trevor McKinney’s launch of a goodwill movement known as “Pay It Forward.”

When Trevor begins seventh grade, his social studies teacher gives the class an assignment to devise and put into action a plan that will change the world for the better. Trevor’s plan is a charitable program based on the networking of good deeds. He calls his plan “pay it forward,” which means the recipient of a favor does a favor for three others rather than paying the favor back.

Trevor does a favor for three people, asking each of them to “pay the favor forward” by doing favors for three other people, and so on, along a branching tree of random acts of kindness.

Why did Paul challenge Timothy to “pay it forward”? Because, like us, he has a job to do. He was a living beneficiary of Paul’s ministry, a recipient of the Gospel message and, therefore, charged to deliver it to others.

“And what you have heard from me
in the presence of many witnesses
entrust to faithful men
who will be able to teach others also.”

Paul says Timothy should entrust the Gospel message to “faithful” men. That means Timothy has to take the time and commit the energy to invest in these men, check their heart, and nurture them in the faith until they can be trusted to carry the truth of the gospel. In other words, instead of paying Paul back, Timothy must take the gift and “pay it forward.”

The essential first step in becoming a disciple is to receive the Gospel message ourselves. The second part of the process of discipleship is passing what we discovered along to someone else.

We are certainly called to come to church on Sunday morning and be nourished by the word of God, but what happens to our bodies if all we ever do is eat? We become obese and unhealthy, and if we do it long enough—it can kill us!

Likewise, in our spiritual walk, if all we ever do is come and receive, we will be unhealthy and sick. The only way to be healthy is to use what we have been taught, and that means passing it along to others!

We’re not truly a disciple unless we share what we’re learning with others. Get it, then give it away—and experience the joy God longs to give you! It’s the only plan that can truly accomplish Trevor’s assignment—“change the world.”

Pastor Steven