Recently I watched again the movie “Pass It Forward.”  It was an inspiring story of a young man with a great idea.  As a social studies project he challenged his classmates to pick something VERY hard to do and then do it no matter what the cost, passing the good forward.

            I have written in the past about taking that concept and bringing it into our everyday lives.  In other words, take each blessing we receive and pass it forward.  Since beginning this process in my own life, lots has happened so I want to share my story again, hopefully encouraging others to follow.

            For this to happen in my life, I had to first begin to really focus on each blessing the Father brought to me.  I began to realize that  many blessings I just took for granted.  I wonder how many are out there who do the same!  Next step for me was to figure out just how to pass that blessing forward.  Wow!  What a wonderful world this opened up to Rog and I! 

            The biggest area for us was the one concerning finances.  Because we have lived by faith for 31 years, it wasn’t difficult to see that each and every gift that comes into the ministry must then in some way be passed forward!  About this same time, Father began to speak heavily to us about our tithing.  We’d always been tithers, priding ourselves in our 10%!  Then He began to say things like, “Gerri, your tithe is so much MORE than money.”  He asked us to stop giving 10% and give Him everything – 100%.  Whoa!  That was a big step.  First we had to break out of the religious box of the 10% mentality.  Then He began to work some deep things in our hearts and they seemed to just fall into place with this new concept of passing the blessing forward.  Soon our hearts softened and we began to fully embrace the new way of doing things!  Let me give you some examples.

            We stopped the long time practice of taking our earnings and figuring 10% of them and giving that!  We began to seek His Spirit every day asking Him where and when He wanted us to give our money.  The 10% tithe was easy compared to the effort that we had to make to spiritually connect with Him personally and relationally each day to see where He wanted the money to go!  It gets easier every day.

            Secondly, we began to look for ways to bless those who came across our paths each day in our normal events.  For example, when we would go to Wal Mart for groceries, we stopped before getting out of the car and prayed.  We asked Father to show us anyone in the store that He would have us bless.  This sharpened our spiritual senses and allowed us to become more aware of others needs rather than our own.  There was the single mom who we could see struggling at the cash register – wrestling with food stamps, her young children begging for a pack of gum or candy, and watching her have to say ‘no’ one more time.   Then there was the older black gentleman who was at the meat counter trying to decide which ham to buy.  Standing beside him, Rog reached in and picked one out and decided to ask the gentleman if he’d ever tried the brand Rog picked.  He picked up one, looked at it and said, “No sir, that one be too spensive for me.”  Rog reached in his pocket and gave him a $10 bill and said, “Be blessed, sir.  This ham is from the Lord.”

At Christmas time Rog spotted an elderly black lady bent over her cart trying to read her crumpled shopping list.  As we passed her, Father spoke to him, “Give that lady $xxx.00.”  Being wise and prudent, we went on down the aisle a bit further out of ear shot and he shared with me what Father had said to him.  He said, “would you just pray about it for a minute and see if you get a witness in your spirit that I have heard correctly?”  I turned around and went back towards the lady, my spiritual antenna high.  As I approached her, my spirit turned summersaults.  I knew that Rog had heard correctly.  I immediately went back and said, “It’s a go!”  He handed me the bill and I slowly and carefully approached her trying very hard not to frighten her.  When I got up to her, I simply said, “The Lord would like to bless you today,” and I pressed the folded bill in her hand and made haste to disappear.

            Another really fun way we like to pass it forward is to use a drive through window.  For example, one day last year we decided to compare side by side two different fast food meal deals.  So, we went to our first drive through and ordered their cheeseburger meal deal.  When we drove forward, the clerk at the window said, “That will be $x.00.  Rog paid her and then said, “Here, this is for you.”  He tipped her $20!  The look on her face was priceless and she said, “Are you joking?” 
            “Nope,” Rog said, “and by the way,  how much is the bill for the car behind us?”  She leaned over and looked out her window and asked, “Is that yo seester back there?” 
            “Nope,” Rog said!  She then carefully leaned back in her window and with a hesitant voice said, “That will be $x.00.”  He handed her the money and we drove off laughing all the way!!!

            We then went to the second fast food drive up and repeated the process – all with the same astonishment from the clerk!  We drove off as fast as we could and went to a parking lot down the street and ate our meal deals, comparing them side by side!  WE were amazed at the difference in the meals as we compared them side by side and out of that picked our favorite!

            How about looking for a clerk in a store, a teller at the bank drive up who is having a difficult time as they wait on you.  Some strong words of encouragement can change the entire atmosphere of their day.  Most will know if the words come from your heart or you are just schmoosing.  When they really come from the heart, a life will be changed!

            We have a fellow who works here in Conwayat the local car wash.  He is mentally challenged, but he sits just outside the entrance to the auto car wash and offers to manually clean your tires and rims before you enter the wash cycle.  We know we don’t have to tip him.  He is there because the owner of the business has desired to pass a blessing forward and give this man a job when many others would not!  We ALWAYS jump at this opportunity to tip him and Rog ALWAYS makes the tip VERY generous!  The look on this man’s face is priceless, so we often go through the car wash even when the car isn’t too dirty and always with the intent of passing a blessing forward to this man! 

            Recently we celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary.  We have made it a long time tradition to tip our wait person on this occasion $1 for every year we have been married…even if they don’t deserve it!  Yep!  That’s when it gets testy with tips, isn’t it?  One time I questioned Rog about giving a tip when the service was less than acceptable and while we don’t always do it, we try and be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  When He says, “give it anyway,” we do and we always feel that same joy in our spirits even when the service has been poor.  We’ve gotten up in years now where our tip is ALWAYS more than the cost of our meal.  IT ISN’T ABOUT THE MONEY!  It is about passing the blessing forward to someone who may or may not deserve it.  It is all about being who Jesus has asked us to be – one of His disciples!  If you do this with selfish motives, don’t waste your time!  This is all about being like Him, in thought, word and deed!

            Listen y’all.  When you begin to really focus on this passing the blessing forward concept, it won’t be difficult to find creative ways to be Jesus with skin on to someone who comes across your path during your day.  Just recently we received an email from a friend with whom I’d shared about passing the blessing forward.  She wrote back that she’d been blessed and that she and her husband were going to begin to ‘pass the blessing forward.’  It was her email that prompted me to write this article.  If we can reach others with this same concept and try to explain what a huge blessing it will be to THEM to begin this focus, then we will have changed our world again…one life at a time.

            Our world would be so different if we’d just take this simple lesson shared by a young boy in his social studies class and implement it in our lives. How about you?  Are your ready to begin passing the blessing forward?  If so, please write or call and share with us your testimonies and we will pass the blessing forward by sharing those testimonies, hopefully encouraging others to do the same.  Together we CAN change our world…one life at a time!