John 13:15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
Pay It Forward is a 2000 American drama film about a 12-year-old boy named Trevor and his plan to make a difference in the world. His social studies teacher Eugene Simonet gives the class an assignment to devise and put into action a plan that will change the world for the better. Trevor’s plan is a charitable program based on the networking of good deeds. He calls his plan “pay it forward”, which means the recipient of a favor does a favor for three others rather than paying the favor back. Trevor does a favor for three people, asking each of them to “pay the favor forward” by doing favors for three other people, and so on, along a branching tree of good deeds. His first good deed is to let a homeless man named Jerry live in his garage, and Jerry pays the favor forward by doing car repairs for Trevor’s mother.
This movie reminds me of what it means to give without expecting anything in return. Doing a reality check and you will realize how the society has gotten the whole point wrong. Many people give to become popular or to receive a favor back. Funny how also the good deed recipient would feel indebted to the source because that is what the society has dictated. Would you imagine if God gave His son to die on the cross expecting us to pay back? Who would even afford that cost?
I think this is what Jesus had in mind in one of His last conversations with His disciples. He wanted to show them the full extent of His love. So before their last meal together, He took off His outer garment, wrapped a towel around His waist, and began to wash His disciples’ feet. This was shocking because only slaves washed feet. It was an act of servanthood and a symbol that pointed to Jesus’ sacrifice, passion, and humiliation on the cross. His request to His disciples was: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). They were to “pay it forward.”
Imagine how different our world would look if we gave the kind of love to others that God has given us through Jesus.