Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pay It Forward

Easter Sunday is a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. It is symbolized by the empty tomb. This IS the Good News – He who was dead is ALIVE again!! Jesus has risen – He is no longer in the tomb where they laid him. The stone that sealed the entrance was rolled away – releasing Jesus from the grip of death. His victory becomes ours as we believe in Him. It is a key part of our faith as Christians.

Good Friday is represented by the Cross. Often this is the picture of Easter we remember most because of the visual impact it has on us. How could we not be affected by it? Crucifixion was a long and torturous execution – meant to be cruel and humiliating. Some depictions have been “sanitized” as not to offend the viewers, but recent versions have tried to be more accurate (like the movie: The Passion). How do you portray a public execution without the horror of it?

Jesus willingly endured the cross in order to purchase our salvation. It COST Him dearly. Yes, salvation is offered to us as a free gift, but only because the price was already paid – with blood (the sacrifice of a perfect Lamb). Do we really realize what He endured to bring that freedom to us? Do we realize what our inheritance really is? I think if many did understand it more fully, they would not treat it so lightly. It is a so valuable – a precious gift beyond our ability to ever receive it on our own merit.

I watched a movie tonight called "Pay It Forward" (click for web site), in which an 11-year-old boy was given an assignment at school: THINK OF AN IDEA FOR WORLD CHANGE, AND PUT IT INTO ACTION. How can we change the world? A big assignment!! On our own, we can’t – it’s too big. But here is his idea: Do something real good for three people. And then when they ask how they can pay it back, tell them they have to Pay It Forward to three more people. It has to be something where you don’t get rewarded – you pay the reward forward and watch it snowball.

I had a similar experience when I ran out of gas and a man came along and put gas in my car from his lawnmower gas jug – it was enough to get me to the gas station. When I offered to pay for the gas, he said, “Just bless someone else when the opportunity presents itself.” Wow – doing good for someone else with no expectation of personal reward – THAT would truly change the world!!

One thing that was emphasized in the movie was that it had to cost you something in order to have a big impact. It couldn’t just be something small or easy. It had to be big – something the person couldn’t do for themselves and couldn’t pay you back for it. Isn’t this what God did for us? It cost Jesus His life – His whole life. We couldn’t do it for ourselves (impossible) and we cannot pay Him back – there is nothing we can do in exchange for His gift of salvation. Then all He asks is that we tell others the “Good News” so they can believe and be blessed too.

The tomb may be empty this Easter, but the Gospel is full and Jesus is alive. The tomb was a place of death, but God brought life where there was no hope or future. He set in motion events that would forever change the world and He wants to change our world too. Accept His gift of salvation and then Pay It Forward to those who do not know. There will be a cost to spread the Gospel and we will not reap the reward for ourselves, but it WILL change the world. That’s the Promise of Easter!!

Selah Y


Jen said...

I watched this movie a few years back, and I LOVED it!
The concept really is revolutionary, and I am reminded of it often as I have opportunity to do something even small for a stranger.

Great post.

Mona said...

I too have seen this movie.
Finally a refreshing yet old concept.
A gentle reminder of what it really means to walk like Christ.
Thank you Cheryl for this beautiful post.

Holly said...

Oh my! Shaun and I just watched the same movie (for the 1st time) 4 days ago!!! It was a sad ending. But I did really like the story. I loved that one of the things that someone gave was the gift of "forgiveness".

Rhonda said...

What a great post!! I love hearing stories where people help complete strangers.

I'm glad that man shared his gas with you and you weren't stranded.

Nana Cheryl said...

Forgiveness - we cannot earn it or purchased it - it can only be given as a gift. Father God did this and offers it to us as well. Yes, it was sad - sometimes it will cost us to stand on our convictions.

Vicki said...

I've been meaning to watch this movie for years, but just haven't taken the time. I think maybe I feel a family movie night coming on!

Roxanne said...

That is a good movie. Sometimes I think it can be easier to give to others than allow them to give to us. Our pride can prevent us from receiving.

Cathy said...

It was a very good movie. A concept I'd like to take with me through life, that's for sure!

Nancy said...

I seen this too... It was good!
Good to see other christian bloggers in Ontario.....seems a bit rare!