Pay It Forward
At the Feast this year (2004) I came across a middle aged woman who began to talk to me about what it was like to be single with no children and no prospects. After a while I could see that it was turning into a Pity Party, and I began to explain my philosophy of keeping Godâ€™s Feast.
You see I too am a Spiritual Single. I am married but my spouse never comes to service nor my children. They now donâ€™t even come to the Feast, although they would in times past. But not only am I a single, I am also married. Therefor I do not fit either group, at the Feast. The single group, which seems to be eyeing each other as a potential mate, and the family group which has all these activities for them. It is at times trying. And in the past I too had many a pity party at the Feast.
The question was what was I going to do about it. I soon learned that by serving and helping others I gained some satisfaction and enjoyment out of making someone elseâ€™s load easier. Then, later, I just wanted to make others that I came in contact with, smile and glad that they had met me. This then led to meeting new people and becoming friends with many from all over North America. This was OK on a selfish point of view, but something was still not right.
As an usher I came to hear about and learn about and see first hand those who were struggling just to be at the Feast. Many times I went to talk to kids doing things that they werenâ€™t aloud to do and discovered in the conversation that they had no Dad or, they had no Mom. Then when I watched them go back to their parent, I learned they had other brothers and sisters. One time as many as 6. All of them little.
I felt compelled to help some how. And after a little conversation I discovered how. They were having what I call a Peanut Butter Feast. That is one where they go to the local super market and buy groceries for them selves to eat in the room, not being able to afford even one meal out.
In those days I had to be clever as to how I could help, because I also had to rush back to the room where my spouse was waiting so we could go out. But, I did what was right and helped when I could and as often as I could afford. I would then find someone else who was willing to assist and they too would take them out.
Having done this one year at one Feast Site I was determined to do it more often and without my spouse or any one finding out. I also determine to help three or four at each Feast with some kind of a nice surprise. Like a Robin Hood or Zoro .
The more I did this the more I wanted to do it. It made me feel very good about myself. And it helped others. So what do the scriptures say about this. Well I do remember an elderly gentleman, saying we should be practicing the give way of life.
Far to often we use credit cards to buy something today whether we need it or not. We then are borrowing on the future to pay it off. Hoping and expecting we can. But sometimes life throws us a curve and we canâ€™t pay it back. Then we are in trouble. What if we were to give to someone with out expecting any thing in return. What if we were to give to someone that could not pay us back at all, ever.
Then would we not be practicing the give way of life in the purest form. Give so they would not know from whom it came. Then you could not receive that pat on the back or hold it over them for future repayment.
Would we not then be lending to the future. And if we lent to the future in this way and these people grow up and become successful or influential or have the ability to help an old person, maybe some one like you in thirty years, how much would that be worth. What if they changed the world because of a charitable moment they remembered as a child. And it was you that provided that charity to the child or his parents or in some cases that one parent. What a wonderful reward that would be knowing you had influenced someone for the good.
Was Adolph Hitler not a product of someone influencing him as a child to think that all of Germanyâ€™s problems were caused by the rich Jewish bankers. How sad it will be when that person realizes that they said these things to or in front of that child and when he grew up he had it in his power to exterminate over six million Jews and retarded and disabled people. And he caused many more millions to die in World War Two. How sad that will be.
What are you saying or doing in front of our future leaders. How are you putting a down payment on the future. What are the examples that they are SEEING. Not the ones they are being told to do. Not the do as I say and not as I do saying. But be the do as I do type of people. Be the DO as I DO! Have nothing to be ashamed of.
At the Feast in Collingwood this year (2004), I spotted a boy who could not sit still. He had ants in his pants big time. I saw his mom who to me look exhausted. He was more than a hand full. This boy needed to be out chasing frogs and tadpoles. He needed to be fighting off pirates and saving the world. Not sitting in a church service with a bunch of old people wearing ties every day.
At first I did not know how to help. I could see the affection the Mother gave this boy and later I saw her nod off to sleep in services. Then I knew how.
After service I engaged the boy to help me to pick up hymnals. He did for few minutes but found it boring and pursued the stick digging up bugs instead. During our talk he mentioned he had no Dad. So now I new why his mom was exhausted. I asked him if he was going to do any thing for his mom during the feast. He replied they had no money and he had none.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out $100 and told him he had to spend it all on his mom for a spa. Suddenly he was saying yes sir, To all my request. I had his attention. I said he could not spend any on himself. Yes sir. If any was left over he could spend it on his brother. Yes sir. Or his Aunt who was listening and whom I had told before hand what I was going to do. Yes Sir. And most important you can not buy me any thing, Yes Sir, or tell your mom I gave you this money. Yes Sir. We shook hands Man to Man and we agreed on the plan. He was maybe 10 years old.
I checked with him the next day and he told me he had done as we had agreed. I then congratulated him on doing his part and left him alone so as not to allow his mom to discover who had done this.
The same day I got talking to a gentleman who was not with our church and was a deacon in the Presbyterian church down the road. He was also involved in the management of the resort we held the Feast at. Some how this story of the 10 year old boy came up with no Dad and he wanted to help. He told me to come to his office and he would give me something to give to him. I declined, but offered to bring the boy by later so he could give it to him himself. And we did.
It was a free spa for his mom. The boy again was on his best behavior.
When I checked with his Aunt everything was well received and going good. Then the boy later cornered me and asked me when he was going to get something for himself. I explained to him the whole purpose of this was to give a gift. I gave him a gift and he gave his mother a gift. It was to be able to give something to someone we love. It was not so we could get something. He looked a little puzzled, so I gave him another assignment. I told him he had to do something nice for his brother and he could not expect his brother to pay him back. He did not know what to do. I said to him you love your brother, and in time youâ€™ll see something you can do for him.
On the last day during the morning services. An older gentleman came up to me because I was an usher and suggested I go and stop those boys from banging the sticks on the trees and snapping the branches.
I explained that the boy, and I told him his name, was at the Feast and had no Dad. His mother was exhausted, and that we should just let him be a boy and climb a tree or break branches and kick stones. Let him be a boy.
This gentleman was moved by what I had said and reached in his pocket and pulled out a twenty dollar bill for me to give to him. I declined and told the Gentleman to go and give it to the boy himself. This way he might see God giving him a gift and not me again.
This boy could be President of the United States in Thirty Years. Was my influence of a few small gifts going to benefit our nation and the world. Probably not. I may never know how it will turn out. But in a home some where is a boy who is adored by his mom, and maybe even his brother, who made their Feast one of the best ones ever.
On another occasion at another Feast I took my family out in a Stretch Limousine to a very nice restaurant to celebrate our Anniversary. Along the way I noticed a group of little girls jumping up and down pointing at the limousine I was in. I met them at church one day and knew they were there with just their mom. They were six altogether and were eating in their room due to a shortage of funds. Once I learned this I called upon a friend and his wife who also had no funds and asked him if he would escort this family to the best restaurant I knew. I would pay for it and I also had them picked up in the Stretch Limousine. He was to look after all the expenses and the tips, and I made sure he had an abundance to do just that. Every one had the best time they had ever had. This man for being able to do this and not have to scrimp. The girls loved the Limousine and the Mom loved the company of other adults at a nice restaurant. For me it was a home run and the pictures and cards they gave me, are more valuable to me than words can express.
So what is it that I am showing you here. From Mr. Penelliâ€™s sermon on hypothermia, look in Revelation 19:7. Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory. For the marriage of the Lamb has come and His wife has made her self ready and to her it was granted to be arrayed in FINE LINEN clean and bright for the FINE LINEN is RIGHTEOUS ACTS OF THE SAINTS. Or the righteousness of the saints.
Many think that doing good is important, Matt 25 talks about taking care of the sick and feeding the hungry and as much as you have done it to these individuals you have done it to me. This is fine, but this scripture is talking about more than just doing.
We are to be clothed with righteousness. We are the Church of God and we are to be clothed with Righteousness. And good works are one them.
Psalm 119:172 All His commandments are righteousness.
We are to be clothed in righteousness and righteous acts.
Lots of people go around doing good deeds. And there is nothing wrong with that. The problems comes up with the person. Many musicians have concerts for this charity or this benefit. Many do good but there is a huge difference between doing and being. Between doing righteous acts, and being righteous. Righteous Holy Godly Character. Doing and Being are linked together in the righteousness of God.
Just because you do something good for some one does not make you righteous. It is a part of doing what you should be doing. It is what you are, as an individual the very character of your being. The quality that you have within you, and a part of your being that is the other aspect of this. You have to be clothed in what is known as the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ. It is that spiritual righteousness that not only keeps the letter of the law but it keeps the spirit of the law. And keeps you developing something that is called godly character. Thatâ€™s the Bottom line.
It is important that we are found with this right kind of clothing. The bible tells us that you have to show up at the wedding of the lamb with this clothing on. So itâ€™s not only what you do ladies and gentlemen itâ€™s what you are.
And thatâ€™s the problem when we look at people doing good. Sometimes their character and their qualities lack terribly because they are seen only for doing and not for being. That is a fact of life. You canâ€™t be Christian with out the doing and the being.
Matt 22:11 A king throwing a wedding feast for his son Jesus Christ. One of the guest thought he was dressed but got a surprise.
:14Many are called but few are chosen.
What does this mean? Over the years many have come to the church, some as donors, some as co-workers, some as members, some as ministers . But when someone is invited to the wedding supper, when he has been given the opportunity to be there. It says many are called but few are chosen. What does it mean? It means that people get off to a good start, but they donâ€™t continue. Why? Because they havenâ€™t develop the wedding garment. They havenâ€™t gotten it together spiritually before God.
We are all being tested right now. We are being worked with right now. And your going to have to come to the place that when these things occur in the prophecy of Matt 24, your going to have to stand on your own. You canâ€™t get some one else to get you in. You canâ€™t get some one else to give you more of the holy spirit. You canâ€™t get someone else to give you the character of God. You got to stand on your own, and when that time comes you had better be ready. You better be ready! The God of heaven and earth said that many are called to that supper, but some didnâ€™t come with the wedding garment and he had to cast this man out into outer darkness. It scary, very scary.
This parable about the marriage supper of Jesus Christ shows one man showing up without the wedding garment. He doesnâ€™t have the proper clothing. In the parable he is cast out of the feast and cast into outer darkness. He didnâ€™t come prepared, he didnâ€™t think it was important enough to wear the right kind of clothing. He wasnâ€™t wearing the righteousness of god. His doing and being were not synonymous with being like Christ.
How about you? What do you fudge on? What do you not do when you should be doing? What do you know you should be doing in the church of god on a regular ongoing way? Ask yourself that question today and every day. We need to be sure weâ€™re not growing weary in doing well, and for some reason remove that clothing or never really put it on to begin with. And make our selves vulnerable to that period of time that we are going to live into in verse 9-13, many shall be offended and many shall lose their love.
So, are you doing certain deeds, as well as being righteous? Are you doing righteous acts of love? Random acts of love? Have you done something good for some one today? This week, last month, this Year? Has some one done something good for you out of the blue? Have you prayed for some one besides your self? Have you listened to the widow or the single, or the teen? Have you done any thing to help some one else? The fatherless, or motherless, the unemployed? Have you taken anyone out or had anyone over for a meal? Yes maybe one or two from the church, but what about the community?
Are you doing the righteousness of God? Not just the commandments of God. It has to be who you are. It has to become your character your being! Is it in you?
So we are not absolved from helping the poor and the needy or the widows or orphans. We just donâ€™t have to tithe a third tithe as we did in years past because our governments already deduct it. We still have to help when we see an opportunity to help someone. It is to be who we are to be. It is our opportunity to put on Holy Righteous Character. And we have to have on this clothing as Mr. Pinelli pointed out in order to stay at the wedding feast. Read the following scriptures.
Lev. 19:9 ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.
Lev. 19:10 And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.
Isaiah 58: 1 – 14 -1 “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek Me daily, And delight to know My ways, As a nation that did righteousness, And did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; They take delight in approaching God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’ “In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. 4 Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high. 5 Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the Lord? 6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Mathew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 41 Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Gal 2:9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.
These all say we are to help the poor and to do it eagerly. And by doing so we are giving to Christ Himself.
Some in Acts 4 and 5 wanted to appear righteous but were in actuality lying to God. They paid dearly for that.
Acts 4:32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. 36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Acts 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. 7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.
Ecc 12:14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.
Mathew 6:1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
I have not said these things to you so you might think that I am good. Or to be seen as good. I am neither. I have written because of the conversation I started this article with showed me that maybe others need to also be told these things, so that you might gain some understanding of things to do to help others. So that when a cause comes along you might be willing to help at your own sacrifice and help someone else in quiet secrecy.
Until this article I have never told any one of what I have done. It was always a secret, and God has blessed me more than I have time to write to you now. In my marriage and in my children and in finances and in peace of mind, and in understanding. What price is all this worth?
I started to do this shortly after I joined the church in 82. I was treated by the brethren in the Montreal congregation to invitations to dinner and lodging as I was from out of town. They seemed to compete to host the stranger. Had I not seen their love in action, I feel I would have left the church at that time as it was very difficult to keep this faith coming from the world I was in.
Ecc 11:1 Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days.
Many of you think I am talking about giving money. And you will be partly right. But in order to make that money you had to put in your time at your business or job. In actual fact I am asking you to give your time. It is the one thing we all have. And we all only have 24 hours each day to give. Or to give up our own desires to give that time to someone else. Whether we sit with and visit the elderly or the widows, or take the orphan out with our family. Or we spend time praying for others, or sending money to help others, that we had to spend time earning. Or are you all too busy watching TV?
There are people in your own congregation needing to talk to someone. There are lonely elderly or widows and widowers that would love some company. The teens have much to deal with today and often feel alone. Open up to some of them.
James1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Duet.14:28 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates.
Duet. 14:29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
I have written to you in the past about visiting the sick, and about tithing and the benefits of doing so. Now I have written to you about stepping up and filling the need to help others when ever you see the need and are able. Not just at the Feast but year round. In season and out of season.
Luke 6:38, Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.