Faces on Faith: Paying it forward
We are drawing near to the holiday season; the retail stores’ Halloween costumes and candy have long since been replaced with Christmas trees and ornaments. Every passing year it seems Thanksgiving, and what it stands for, comes and goes without much fanfare.
Growing up, my parents gave thanks at every meal. The rules of the house were: (1) come to dinner with a shirt on; (2) eat dinner at exactly 5 p.m.; (3) share a blessing; and (4) eat everything on your plate. In essence, every meal was an opportunity to count our blessings.
On Thanksgiving many families do sit at table together and offer a blessing. What I have learned over the years is that my parents were not simply setting rules at the table, they were teaching us to have a heart full of gratitude. This is what the Apostle Paul is getting at when he writes to Christians in Corinth. The Corinthians were blessed with Spiritual gifts and financial abundance. Paul writes and encourages them to pay it forward; “each one must give as he/she decide in their hearts, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (1 Corinthians 9:7)
On our way from Ohio to Florida we stopped at a service center. While walking the dog we met another couple who were not only from Ohio but also were traveling to Florida. It was a chance meeting but one where strangers instantly became friends. During our conversation the gentleman mentioned that on their journey they went to a drive through restaurant, placed their order and when they came to the window were informed that the car in front had paid their bill. Our new friend then said that he was moved to do the same and paid the bill of the car behind him.
This Thanksgiving I pray all of you will experience a grateful heart, and perhaps enjoy a meal with family and friends. May we also be mindful of those who are struggling and find opportunities to pay it forward.
The Rev. Larry L. Marshall is the pastor at the Captiva Chapel by the Sea.