Currently, there is a facebook message chain floating around regarding "paying it forward." The idea is simple, and it is neat to watch unfold and hear about. The basic concept is that if you agree to participate by "paying it forward" you will receive an act of kindness from the originator. This facebook "pay it forward" is slightly different from the original concept of "paying it forward." The original idea is that you will receive an act of grace without any form of pre-conditioned agreement. It is only after you received the free gift, that you are encouraged to "pay it forward" to others. Therefore, there is no pre-agreement, just an unmerited act of grace that hopefully will cause you to bless others (i.e. pay it forward).
This concept is nothing new. In fact "Pay it Forward" was a creation of God himself. You see it very clearly in the above text, Matthew 10:7-8. In this text, we see Christ sending his disciples on their first short term mission trip to spread the Gospel to the nation of Israel. The catalyst, or motivation, behind spreading the Gospel was that they had received something without earning it, "You received without paying, give without pay." Jesus was telling them to pay it forward.
First, what did they receive? I believe, the answer lies in the text. The disciples had received citizenship in the Kingdom of God. This is a gift that they did not earn. Each disciple was brought into the Kingdom of Christ by simply being invited. For example, Matthew, the writer of the Gospel of Matthew, was at work (tax collectors booth), when Jesus asked him to follow Him. Matthew did nothing to earn this great gift of being a citizen of God's Kingdom. He was merely asked. He received this amazing blessing of citizenship freely.
Second, why would the free gift of receiving citizenship in the Kingdom of God be motivation? I believe that one answer, also lies in the text. As we see in the text, the Kingdom of God has great benefits and power attached to it. One benefit is everlasting life. I don't know about you, but if I could pick a kingdom to be a part of, I would pick a kingdom where the dead were raised. How awesome is that! If a Kingdom existed that promised a remedy to death, wouldn't you want everyone to come and be cured? Wouldn't you want your children, parents, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, strangers, everyone to have life everlasting? This is what the Kingdom of God has to offer. All who belong to Christ Jesus will be able to say, "O death where is thy sting." There will come a day where the followers of Christ will be without disease, pain, suffering and death. All others outside of the Kingdom of God will not experience this amazing blessing. In fact, they will experience only pain and suffering...forever.
So, if you want to participate in God's Pay if Forward program, give people the greatest gift possible, an invitation into God's wonderful Kingdom. Proclaim to the people in your life that the Kingdom of God has arrived in Jesus Christ and that there is everlasting life to all who become citizens. All they must do to receive this amazing grace is to have faith in Jesus Christ. Once they have accepted the invitation, encourage them to "pay it forward."
You received without paying; give without pay.