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Paying Forward


Last week Nashville Tennessee was hit by a tornado that resulted in the loss of many lives and damage to property. The recovery attempts, assistance, and financial aid is pouring in from across the country. What often comes out of these disasters is the blessings brought on by others who have come to the rescue.

The self-less acts of a neighbor helping another neighbor was the standard when I was growing up. We learned from our parents and schools taught us about "The Golden Rule." In church we heard, "It is better to give than receive." Self-less acts were common and movies like "Pay It Forward" (2000) and "Do for others as you would want them to do for you" were common phrases of those times. It's hard for me to believe that movie came out 20 years ago. It also is hard for me to believe that in just 20 years we've become a nation of hate speech, hate crimes, and hateful behaviors have become more and more acceptable. Twenty years ago we had not experienced Human Trafficking or Internet abductions. Our children were safe to ride their bikes on the streets or to school without fear of being kidnapped and assaulted in the back of a van in a shopping parking lot.

These realities of today are terrifying. It seems like, as a society, the only time we come together is when disaster strikes and the damage can't be ignored. When we are forced off our couch, away from our technological distractions, and when our comfortable life is interrupted (usually because there is no cell towers or internet service). The days of service to others has been changed to a need to do for self instead. The "takers" now outnumber the "givers" in every sense of the word and this saddens me.

In the movie actor Kevin Spacey tells a classroom of young students, "The realm of possibility exists in each of you, here" (pointing to his head). I believe that it is still possible for us to learn the benefits of paying it forward, doing good for someone else, and coming to the rescue in order to carry another's burdens. In the movie the premise is that one person helping 3 people who help 3 more people each (exponentially) will spread good tidings across the world. What if you could do one thing today for three people you meet that would make a significant difference in their lives...would you? Focus on someone else for today, give instead of take, and see how good you feel about yourself at the end of the day. You might just find yourself repeating good everywhere you go...and what a joy that would be!

"Greater love has no one than this:

to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."

John 15:13 (NIV)

Day 57: Help

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