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Pay It Forward

Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding. When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out. ~ Matthew 6:1-4, MSG

 

 

Doing good deeds for good deeds’ sake should be the motive of every loving and caring person. Doing good deeds for a reward (for money, publicity, or fame) defeats the purpose of doing kind acts for others.

The very popular Pay It Forward (2000) movie has influenced millions. Christians and non-Christians worldwide have jumped on the pay it forward bandwagon. Paying it forward means to do a voluntary act of kindness for someone else without expecting that person to return the favor. Instead, he or she is expected to help another person—to pay it forward.

Today, there are numerous television shows and websites created by people who want to share stories about pay-it-forward acts of kindness. For example, in a major American city, there is a local television news station that has a “Pay It Forward” series. Each week, this local news station gives $500.00 to a viewer who, in 60 minutes, has to give the money away to the needy person this chosen viewer initially had to prove was someone who absolutely deserved to be helped.

Now, not only does this news station reward people for their giving, caring, and loving hearts with publicity, a few moments of fame, but also this news station prerecords and then televises the paying it forward process—airs the segment in which a representative from the news station gives $500.00 to a local viewer who then gives the money to a local disadvantaged individual. In other words, the paying it forward deed is not done privately. The news station broadcasts the prerecorded moment when the person the station believed should receive the pay-it-forward $500.00 actually is given the money, and the moment when he or she then gives that money to the individual who is facing some unfavorable circumstances, which means this news station also gets to reveal the specific lack someone is experiencing. In the end, the news station and the actual person who pays it forward both publicly receive immediate praise from countless viewers for an act of kindness that simply has been staged.  

People who love to help others who are in need have a commendable characteristic. However, people who do good deeds only because they know they can earn money, publicity, or fame are hypocrites. In Matthew 6:1-2 MSG, Jesus the Christ says:

Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding. When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get.

In other words, the people who publicly do loving and kind acts usually are expecting to be paid back—usually are expecting their reward. That is why the attention these hypocrites draw is their payback/reward (either partial or full).

Changing the world is the end result that the pay it forward social movement hopes to achieve through numerous acts of kindness. This goal is praiseworthy. However, it is ironic that a social movement’s occasional acts of kindness, often done by non-Christians and/or done for selfish reasons like, for example, ratings or viewership, can draw more attention, get more publicity, than the good works that the Body of Christ does on a daily basis.

Be that as it may; the good news for believers is that only what a person does for Jesus the Christ will last! When the Lord judges every act of kindness, each person who has done good deeds will know whether or not what he or she did will come through the fire as pure gold. Ultimately, any act of kindness that is not a genuine selfless act will be consumed and, as the Word of God declares, the doer will suffer loss (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). A word to the wise should be sufficient!

Concerning acts of kindness, please read the following blog entry: SHOW KINDNESS ALL THE TIME INSTEAD OF RANDOMLY.