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3 Things Paying it Forward Taught Me

3 Things Paying it Forward Taught Me.

First…you might ask what is “Paying it Forward”…Giving to a stranger or someone you may know anonymously.  That’s my simple definition…it’s not complex…it’s just giving.

Above I say me but I think in real life I should say “us”.  One may never know the impact one small and simple act of kindness can do for another.  In this blog post I feel like I might be revealing a lot of myself through this…which honestly I tend to be more of the controlled emotional human being.  I would much rather talk to you about y.o.u.r. life than sit here and talk about myself.  At the same time this post has been on my heart for the last several weeks.

Several weeks ago my husband and I went on a quick weekend camping adventure.  We decided to pack up early Sunday morning and head home because Sunday was supposed to be storming, so why…why camp when it’s raining…especially in a tent-mind you!  We loaded up…came home…went to church…after church we n.e.v.e.r. go out to eat. On Sundays we come home and I cook lunch…but since we had been out of town- in the car he looked over at me and said I’m going to treat you to lunch today…so we decided to head to the local Italian restaurant in town.

We walked in…hostess sat us at the table…we decided to split their special of the day.  See…stop…let me explain…we always split because if we don’t we walk away leaving food or feeling soooo stuffed.  Anyway…continuing…we enjoyed our meal- talking about life and how much fun we had camping and then chatting about the coming week and how busy we knew it would be.  As we finished up our delicious meal our waitress asked us if we knew the family sitting next to us.  Honestly, I said no, because I hadn’t really paid attention to who was around us.  I know that sounds horrible but we were in our own little world.  She said- ok- because they just paid for your meal.  I looked at my husband…he looked at me…we weren’t quite sure what to say…were we supposed to tell our waitress thank you?…were we supposed to track down this family to say thank you?…were we supposed to just really leave and not pay…all of those thoughts crossed my mind simultaneously during that split second conversation.

This had never happened to me…my husband has done this several times…I think I talked about this for days to come…because I’ve never been on the receiving end…always on the giving end, maybe not in this idea of paying it forward but in other ways.

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A few things it has taught me in the days following//

#1 You can never out give or might I say give enough…it’s a blessing.

Growing up my dad always taught us kids how to manage our money…there were a few things he always told us—You start by giving back to the Lord your tithe, you learn to save and you learn to spend…but then you learn to give.  This isn’t an easy concept to learn or always practice…but over the years there have been times that the last piece of advice I took and I would  “pay it forward”…always anonymously in my case.  Then in conversation months later I would hear of the recipient talking about their receiving an anonymous gift and how that was the perfect timing when they needed it and God had provided.  Now I on the receiving end realize the blessing this is.


#2 Being on the receiving end enabled us to then turn around and give

As we went back to church on Sunday night there was a missionary traveling through and at our church.  At the end of service we both looked at each other and said “God blessed us today, now lets take that money and bless someone else.”  Instead of us selfishly stashing our money away we were enabled to turn around almost immediately and give to someone else…who knows the impact that this may have on the next person and it might just be a domino affect.  We will never know…but again you can never out give or give enough! 


#3 The encouragement it brought to our lives

This truly encouraged us to continue to give and be an encouragement to others.  My husband is a natural when it comes to giving and encouraging.  Honestly, it’s not my strong point but it’s something I try to keep at the forefront of my mind and put into action.  I think the Lord truly knows what he’s doing when he gave me my mister so we can balance each other in this area of life.  One of the first conversations we had when we got home, after this kind act we received, was… “How are we going to “pay it forward” this year?”  This was a goal we had written down as a couple during the New Year…but we hadn’t gotten detailed with the goal and how we would put our words into action.  The encouragement we received only encouraged us to give more.


Who knew the impact that this small act of kindness would make on our lives?  With a heart-felt- Thank You…those two words may never reach those that impacted us, but we say Thank You for teaching us and encouraging us.

Have you been a recipient of someone “paying it forward”?  Would love to hear…comment and share your story!!


  • Amanda Janik - Thanks for sharing! I have seen God’s faithfulness with paying if forward. My parents generously gave cars away when they were younger to someone who needed a car at the time. In the past few years people have given them cars, which is exactly what they needed at the time. God is faithful and good! 🙂

  • Nikki Spreen - I have been on the receiving end of paying it forward in a drive thru a couple of times. I am always stunned and make sure to pay for the person behind me that day and then also another day. This year my kiddos had been given $25 we decided that we would give them $75 and would go pay off someones Lay Away on Christmas Eve Morning at Kmart. I must say this was the most awesome experience EVER for my kids. They found a lay away with toys only on it, and then called the person to tell them while my kids were standing there to tell them a secret santa had paid off their lay away. The lady had just finished a night shift and was crying on the phone. My kids said as we were walking into mass that night that they were so excited that someone else was going to have a good Christmas. They were more excited about what they gave than what santa was going to bring them! I LOVE Paying it forward!!!

  • Kathleen Guillot - We were on the receiving end many times when our home flooded with hurricane Isaac. During this time we were going to the laundromat a lot. I would always leave quarters in the machines for the next person. I know it wasn’t a big deal but knew from our time there that many people didn’t seem to have much. We new our situation was temporary.

  • Gwendy Donnell Clairain - Someone bought my breakfast at Starbucks located in a hospital. Never knew who bought it but think it was an intern. I had been up all night with my mother so guess I looked like I needed a blessing!

  • Nancy Saunier - Erin I have been on the receiving end many times during the times I was struggling to raise my children as a single mother. Many times when I would cry myself to sleep at night due to not know how or when I would be able to give my children their next meal, I know it was the works of our Lord. Because the angels among us always somehow knew and I was always able to provide their next meal. I must say they never missed a meal as I feared my financial situation indicated they would. Our lord is great! And I do give back and pay it forward to those I feel are also in need at every given opportunity.

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