Skip to content

“Pay It Forward”

June 16-19, 2014
Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau Claire, Wisconsin

“God Our Savior Desires All Men to be Saved!” (1 Timothy 2:3-4 NKJV)
Essay 1: Jesus is the one Mediator of that truth! (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
Essay 2: We are appointed to proclaim that truth! (1 Timothy 2:7)

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-7)

Back in the year 2000 the movie Pay It Forward was released, based on a book by the same title.

In that connection students in a social studies class were given the assignment to put into action a plan that would change the world for the better. As the story goes, one seventh grade boy came up with the idea that a person who had been done a favor should do a favor for three others—paying it forward instead of paying it back.

According to Wikipedia, the idea of “paying it forward” isn’t a new one. The phrase may have already been coined in a 1916 book, and the concept is even found in a Greek play which dates back to 317 B.C.

We as Christian believers don’t need to go to the pages of some novel or play to find the source of this “pay it forward” idea, for it is part and parcel of our Christian faith!

As the delegates gather at Immanuel Lutheran College to take part in the Thirty-first Convention of the Church of the Lutheran Confession, it might be easy for them to get lost in the busy-ness—of the sometimes sweaty sessions in the fieldhouse, the late-into-the-night committee sessions, or crafting resolutions to be brought to the convention floor.

God willing, the convention theme and the two essays will help keep them all on track. The focus of all our work, whether at convention or in our home congregations, is to proclaim the gospel message which teaches that “God our Savior desires all men to be saved.”

We dare never lose sight of this truth, for when it comes to “finding favor” in God’s sight, not one of us sinners can find or win that favor on our own! Left to our own devices, all we would find is the Lord’s condemnation–“Depart from Me!” (Matthew 25:41). It is alone in “the Man Christ Jesus” that we have a sufficient ransom, the price fully paid—Christ Jesus Himself in whom alone we have “redemption through His blood; the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14).

And not only does Jesus as our High Priest offer up the satisfactory sacrifice, He also serves as our advocate before His Father’s throne. It is only because Jesus speaks to the Father in our behalf that we can stand before Him as those declared to be “not guilty.”

What mercy! What grace! What a “favor” our God has done for us in Christ! With God’s help let’s make that love of God our own–and then faithfully “pay it forward,” pass it on, not just to three people but to as many as we can!

The Apostle Paul knew this was his life’s mission too. It was God’s grace which served to motivate him: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain…” (1 Corinthians 15:10). That same grace of God was the heart of his message: “[Christ is] to be testified in due time.”

The week of work—the decisions and discussions at Convention—are vital because in them we are working to forward the message of the gospel.

When the delegates and called workers return home, our prayer is that they do so with a renewed zeal to proclaim the gospel that “God our Savior desires all men to be saved!”