Lesson learned: Paying it forward pays off | Worship
As a student, I was never sent to the principal’s office.
Last week, however, I was “taken to school,” as the saying goes. I was sent to the office – God’s office.
I was on my way to an evening meeting, and since it was National Coffee Day, I figured I better do my part and stop to get a latte beforehand.
I’m a morning person, so evening meetings are not my favorite.
As soon as I rounded the corner to get into the drive-thru line, the trouble started. I wasn’t late or anything, but I wasn’t in top form.
I was convinced the driver ahead of me had cut in line. I told myself that there was no way she could have gotten there without me seeing her.
On top of that irritation, the whole line was moving slowly. A customer must have asked the barista to grind the beans one by one.
In what seemed like hours later (in Coffee Deprivation Time), I could finally see the drive-thru window. I was next in line.
I was getting antsy because of all the waiting, even though I still had plenty of time to make my meeting.
Nevertheless, it seemed like it was taking her forever, and she only ordered one drink!
She paid for her drink, all the while chatting with the barista, then she put her wallet back.
I put my car in gear, ready to pull forward. It was coffee time.
That’s when she pulled her wallet back out.
Maybe her gift card didn’t cover the bill, maybe she bought another drink. Either way, I was definitely annoyed.
She drove off, and I drove up.
As I gave the barista my card, he told me: “No need for that. The car in front of you just paid for your drink.”
A pay-it-forward favor like that was meant to make someone’s day. Me? I was busted.
God exposed my heart. He showed me the pettiness of my attitude. God revealed my lack of grace toward others.
Man, I hate getting (metaphorically) spanked. But I need that periodically: God has to get my attention from time to time, to reboot my heart and mind.
So, before I left, I pulled into a parking space and prayed. I prayed for forgiveness for me and for a blessing for the woman in front of me in line.
Yesterday, I read this Bible verse: “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
God knows I sin, I know I sin. Through a pay-it-forward, he woke me up and showed me that I needed an attitude adjustment.
He did it in a very kind and fatherly way, by blessing me with a free latte, and then He sat back and waited to see how I would respond. The Bible says to seek righteousness, seek humility: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” (Romans 12:3)
Admit your sins, and then lift your head. That’s what I did.
God’s forgiveness took away the guilt I felt for my sin.
I think that’s the message he wants to say to you today: Believe that God, who loves you more than you will ever know, will forgive you and restore you in His great, gracious way. No matter how big you think the sin is.
You never know – He may even put you in line behind me the next time I visit that drive-thru. I’ll be looking for my opportunity to pay it forward.
Don Saul is the senior pastor of Jericho Bridge Church. The non-denominational church meets at Rosehill Community Center, 304 Lincoln Ave. in Mukilteo. For more information, visit www.jerichobridge.org.