Pay it forward

The next time you give money to someone on the street, tell them to “Pay it forward.” 

All cultures embrace concepts of compassion and charity. Only the most greedy, miserly wretch does not feel compelled to help a fellow human being in need. Too many people view the homeless, the street corner beggars, the mendicants as just good-for-nothing bums, too lazy to get or keep a job. Yet many of these folks have fallen so far, have lived on the street so long, have let their health and appearance degrade to the point that no one would hire them. Many have just given up – the pit of despair can be very very deep. Many have made poor choices, drugs and alcohol often are involved. Others are victims of circumstance, the economy, or upbringing. In the “bell curve” of human intellect, drive, ambition, and social skills there will always be those who excel at the high end … and those trapped at the low end. Others are only visiting the low end, a temporary “fall from grace”.

Much is made of the phrase “a hand up, not a hand out.” As if giving to someone in need is only justified if that person somehow betters himself or herself. People who would never give money to someone on the street, feel somehow better giving to their church or an organization. Others feel that tithing 10% to their church, obviates the need for direct person-to-person contact with the low-lifes begging at the intersection. Yet how much of the monies donated to the church and/or other organizations actually makes to into the hands of the needy? What with administrative costs, rents, utilities, etc., churches and organizations can justify huge “expenses”. We continually hear of directors of charitable organizations “living large” off the proceeds donated for the poor.

Who best to decide
How to distribute the tithe
Than he who has need?

• • •

Perhaps you have heard the following comments: “But there are so many people in need, how can I possibly help them all?” or “If I help one person, I’ll have to help them all! I am compassionate, but I am not wealthy. Let the wealthy help them.” 

The story of the starfish comes to mind …

Once upon a time, there was a man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a child, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The child was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The child paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled man.

To this, the child replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the child bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “I made a difference for that one.”

Quoted content from http://www.throwingstarfish.com/the-starfish-story/

• • •

Paying it forward is a third-party beneficiary concept that involves doing something good for someone in response to a good deed done on your behalf or a gift you received. When you pay it forward, however, you don’t repay the person who did something nice for you. Instead, you do something nice for someone else. For example, if someone changes your tire while you are stranded on the highway, you might shovel your elderly neighbor’s walkway after a snow has fallen.

“The concept has a firm foundation in history. Ben Franklin described it in a letter he wrote to Benjamin Webb in 1784, in which he wrote about his intention to help Webb by lending him some money. He did not want to be repaid directly, however. Instead, Franklin hoped that Webb would at some point meet an honest man in need of financial help and pass the money along to him.”

“Paying it forward doesn’t have to mean giving a large some of money or expending a lot of effort. It could be as simple as holding the door for someone laden with bags or giving up a place in line to someone who appears in a rush. It could even mean spending a little cash on coffee for the person behind you in line at a coffee house. For those who have money they can afford to give, there are always people in need, but even the smallest, free gestures can make a difference.”

Quoted content from http://www.wisegeek.org/what-does-pay-it-forward-mean.htm

3 thoughts on “Pay it forward

  1. I really enjoy “paying it forward”! I gave up my morning latte, but I used to do this at the Starbucks drive thru. Now I look for other ways to give. Great post!

    Like

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