The Best Pay-It-Forward Story Ever

Posted in Spiritual Growth, Life Lessons, Finances on September 17, 2018 by Pam Kanaly

I know you’ve heard of the “Pay-It-Forward” movement. It’s when someone does something nice for you and instead of paying that person back directly, you pass a blessing on to another person. There’s probably not a one of us who doesn’t have warm fuzzies when we hear a heartwarming “Pay-It-Forward” story. 

I recall a time years ago that I exercised a kind of “Pay-It-Forward” act. I remember it because in a selfish kind of way I regret it. (Well, not really.) I was a single mother. My mother had given me money to buy this beautiful flannel gown. It was SO me: flowy and white with speckles of pastels. I was “the cat’s meow” when I had that on. I actually recall wearing it to the mailbox, hoping the world would notice my stunning new garment.

Then one day my dear friend commented on my gown and how she loved it. I heard this rude inner voice say, “Give it to her.” I was horrified at such a thought. Yet the hours turned into days and the days into months when FINALLY I gave in and presented my friend with my beloved treasure. Well, unfortunately my friend LOVED it and even kept it! I went home both content and mad at myself. Really… it was no big deal. I’ve only remembered that gown every winter now for more than 25 years.

One of our donors called the office the other day with a story that surpasses every “Pay-It-Forward” story I’ve ever heard. She said that years ago she and her husband helped a lady by giving her $500 for various needs. They told her it was a gift. Then yesterday, out of the blue, they received a cashier’s check from her with a note saying, “You helped me 12 years ago and I’ve never forgotten it. I’ve been saving the money to give it back to you, so here’s $500 —the amount you originally gave to me. Your act of kindness will never be forgotten. You can pass this financial blessing on to another charity.” And, of course, the charity chosen was Arise Ministries.

I thought, seriously? When I picked up the check at the donor’s house, I felt like framing it. I was reminded of Jesus’ words in Revelation 22:12: And behold, I am coming imminently and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.

I wonder what kind of reward will be given to someone who—like this lady—would have had to have saved 11 CENTS A day for 12 years to pay it forward. What kind of affirmation will she receive from King Jesus for her disciplined sacrifice of dropping eleven pennies a day in a jar for 4,380 days? Friends, I could hardly cash that check. I was touching a piece of heaven’s lottery in the eyes of Jesus.

This I know from my own experiences. To have a mindset to sacrificially give doesn’t happen naturally. It’s an intentional choice, a premeditated act performed ON PURPOSE, with the God-directed motive of simply dropping a blessing into someone else’s moment because others have deposited sweet gestures into your own.  

Open your eyes today. There might be a “pay-it-forward” opportunity right under your nose.

God loves a cheerful giver. —2 Corinthians 9:7

About Pam Kanaly  

Aloha! I’m Pam Kanaly, President and co-founder of Arise Ministries. But actually, I think Arise found me wanting to bless single moms years ago. Ministry was never on my mind as a kid. All I wanted to be was a hula dancer. So Mother enrolled me in the tiny tots’ class. Guess God knew I’d have two grandbabies born in Hawaii. I love the great outdoors. You might even find me spending time with my husband grizzly bear watching or camping. In fact, it was on a turkey hunt that God gave me the name Arise Ministries in 2002. I suppose it’s a good thing that I majored in Grammar in college since I love to write words of encouragement to single moms.