Reading Matthew 25:35-40 (NRSV)
Pay it forward. Years ago, a movie popularized the concept. One person does something nice for someone else. In gratitude, the recipient wants to return the favor, but the giver says something like, “pay it forward.” In other words, “I don’t have a need at the moment, but find someone else who surely does. Do something nice for that person.” Serving others can have a domino effect if people keep paying it forward.
Today’s scripture tells us that the concept is not new. Jesus tells a parable about a leader acknowledging help given when the leader was hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick, or in prison. The people ask when they saw their leader so vulnerable to have all of these needs. They cannot figure out how they helped. The leader replies, “just as you did it to one of the least of these in my family… you did it to me.”
Many times God has sent someone along at the very moment of my need for food, shelter, comfort, or prayer. How should I repay God for such gifts? Saying thanks is only the start. The parable says, if I pay it forward to someone else, I do it as if for God.
Let us pray. O, God, how can we thank you for your wondrous gifts? May we pay it forward to meet the needs of the least of your family, and thereby keep the dominoes moving in your service. Amen.