Pay It Forward
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You don’t pay love back; you pay it forward.—Lily Hardy Hammond
It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.—Ralph Waldo Emerson
I do not pretend to give such a Sum; I only lend it to you. When you [...] meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another opportunity. I hope it may thus go thro' many hands. … This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money.—Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Benjamin Webb, dated April 25, 1784
No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.—Amelia Earhart
Every time you smile at a messenger, laugh at a coworker's joke, thank an assistant, or treat a stranger with graciousness and respect, you throw off positive energy. That energy makes an impression on the other person that, in turn, is passed along to and imprinted on the myriad others he or she meets.
Eight years ago, Susan received a letter from an old friend, Helen. Helen's niece was a severe anorexic; she was going to die unless she received intensive treatment in an expensive clinic thousands of miles from their home. The program cost, however, was way beyond the family's budget, given that the father was unemployed and had health problems of his own. So the family sent out a letter to family members and other friends, requesting money.
Susan was both moved and a little surprised, because people, even relatives, rarely ask for help so overtly. With three kids of her own, it was hard for Susan and her husband to decide how much to give. “We ended up sending $500—which seemed like too little and, simultaneously, way too much for us,” says Susan.
But others responded generously as well. The girl was admitted into a program for treatment and survived. “Without the letter they sent, she would not have made it,” says Susan.
Three years later, Susan's husband lost his job. He also suffered severe health problems. His unemployment period stretched out well over a year, and Susan's family was forced to live on savings that quickly disappeared. Even though Susan was working, they were getting very frightened about their financial situation.
Then one day a card arrived in the mail from a woman that Susan didn't know. She was Helen's mother, the anorexic girl's grandmother. She wrote that she had heard that Susan and her husband were going through a “rough patch,” and that she wanted to help out. She went on to write that she knew what it was like to have financial difficulties.
“This amazing woman who had raised three children on her own working in low-paying service jobs sent us a check for $2,000,” said Susan.
When you truly understand the full power of nice, you realize that by treating others with kindness, respect, and generosity, your actions get paid back in one way or another—with interest.—Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval1
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.—Jesus, Luke 6:382
You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.—Henry Drummond
There is no wrong way to perform an act of kindness.―Catherine Ryan Hyde
If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of flowers can bloom and grow.—Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.—Charles Spurgeon
Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.—H. Jackson Brown
Remember, there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.—Scott Adams
Have you had a kindness shown?
Pass it on;
’Twas not given for thee alone,
Pass it on;
Let it travel down the years,
Let it wipe another’s tears,
’Til in Heaven the deed appears—
Pass it on.
We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.—Seneca
Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.—James M. Barrie
One kind word can warm three winter months.—Chinese proverb
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are endless.—Mother Teresa
Human beings who leave behind them no great achievements, but only a sequence of small kindnesses, have not had wasted lives.—Charlotte Gray
He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.—Proverbs 14:313
When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.—Deuteronomy 24:194
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.—Proverbs 19:175
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”
The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”—Jesus, Matthew 25:34–406
What was Jesus’ message to His disciples at the Last Supper, before He was arrested, beaten, and killed? “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”7 He talked about love, that love was the most important thing.
The early Christians turned the world upside down with the love of God that they found in Jesus Christ. Even their Roman rulers marveled at the love of the Christians and said, “Behold, how these Christians love one another!” The way the Christians lived convinced the Romans that their faith was real, and the Romans wondered, “Who is this Christ and how does He make you so happy? Even though you have nothing, you’ve got everything! How can I find this kind of happiness that I don’t have?” And within 200 years, when Christianity was still outlawed, one out of every five people in the Roman Empire was a professing Christian and the known world had been saturated with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Just a little love can go a long way—much further than you could ever dream.—David Brandt Berg8
Published on Anchor May 2013. Read by Jon Marc. Music by Michael Dooley.
1 The Power of Nice (New York: Doubleday, 2006).
7 John 13:35 NKJV.
8 Daily Might (Aurora Production, 2004).
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- Walking with God through Trials
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- The Holy Spirit
- Current Events: Speculations and Opinions
- Don’t Panic!—Trust the Lord!