“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
This seems like a nice passage. It can even make you feel warm and fuzzy. I do not know of anyone who has adamantly disagreed with this message. But it is probably the most difficult passage in the Bible (beside the “be perfect” passage in Matthew 5:48) to follow.
When I was a pastor, I would have people come up to me and say “we need more meat”. Which I assumed was their way of saying we need to dig into the broader parts of the Bible. But whenever I heard this statement, I would always think “Man, I have not even figured out this one verse yet, let alone the rest of the Bible.” I could spend the rest of my life attempting to work out how I should treat others. Even then I am not sure I would have scratched the surface.
Pay It Forward
There was a great movie a few years ago called Pay It Forward starring Haley Joel Osment as an 11 year old boy who is given a challenge from his teacher. The challenge is to come up with an idea that will change the world and then put it into ACTION. Trevor, this little boy, decides to Pay it Forward, there is this particular scene where Trevor is describing what his project is to the class while Jim Caviezel, who plays a bum that Trevor helped, is trying to explain Pay it Forward to Trevor’s mom played by Helen Hunt.
Watch the Pay It Forward clip
The perfect world, huh? But isn’t what Trevor trying to accomplish simply the Golden Rule, with a little twist. Isn’t it just doing to others simply what you would want have done to you? That is all this movie is, it is a little glimpse at what this world might look like if we simply lived by the Golden Rule, that instead of worrying about paying someone back, for better or for worse, we paid people forward because this was the example given to us in Christ.
The Intentional Apprenticeship
When Jesus is speaking during the Sermon on the Mount, you can start to see the entire picture of what Christ is trying to preach and teach others while he was on the earth. His teaching is an intentional apprenticeship, it is the balance of apprenticeship and can be summed up in one saying of “Love God, Love Neighbor.” This is the entire teaching of the Sermon on the Mount, and the New Testament, and is the basic foundation of what it means to be an apprentice of Christ,
It is the overarching concept of learning how to Love God, and in the process learning how to Love Neighbor. But in both of these areas they are not going to happen unless we are intentional about our lives as apprentices of Christ. If we are not intentional we will resign our lives for better or worse to the life we are just living.
Keep Living Life the Same
Is that your life, that you are so used to living the life you have even if is bad, that you don’t want to change. You have no desire to make a difference here for the Kingdom of God? That is not what we are called to do as Apprentices of God, we are called to Pay it Forward and make a difference in the lives around us. And it will only happen when we learn to Love God, so we can love our neighbor and Pay it Forward. Because if we cannot accomplish this one task, then we do in fact all loose.
When Trevor was asked why he started doing this he said, “because life sucks.” And you know he is right, some time life does suck, things don’t happen the way we want them to; we don’t get the right job, car, house, teacher. Plans fall apart or are delayed, and sometimes life just simply sucks. But that point, the point when you are at that crossroads of thinking life stinks, and is not fair is the absolute point in time when the Golden Rule and Paying it Forward are absolutely necessary.
You see, it is at that point when you think life stinks that you are going to treat others in a way you do not want to be treated because it makes you feel better about yourself. You say to yourself “why should I help so and so out, my life stinks, they are better off then I am.” You ignore their needs, and miss out on an opportunity to help them because you are to focused on yourself. It is at that point that we absolutely have to go back to Christ and know whose we are and who we belong to. No matter what the circumstances we are a child of God, an apprentice to Christ. No matter what is going on in our own lives we are still called to love one another.
This is the message Christ came to this earth to teach. We should be loving others, we should be working for the Kingdom of God no matter our circumstances. Let me tell you if you think life stinks, and nothing is fair then the best thing you can do is try to help someone else out. Because this simple task takes the focus off ourselves and puts it back on the Kingdom of God. This is the reason Christ came to the earth to die on a cross for our sins. Christ paid the ultimate price in paying it forward so we would take his example and do the same.
How can you pay it forward to someone today? A person you know cannot help you or promote your cause in any way. Start a revolution in your little community today by giving to others.