Aside the beginning and end of a year, this is one of the times of the year when people mostly Christians take account of all the things they are grateful for – or at least when they should do so. This should be a time when we take account of the person who has given us the greatest gift – a very tangible gift; the gift of salvation and confidence.
Who do you owe the greatest debt?
Is there a special person in your life that really helped you become the person you are today?
Is there someone who helped you believe in yourself and your ability? Someone who taught you to appreciate life in a new dimension? Someone who was there that you could count on no matter what happens?
Most of us have been fortunate to have not just one person but a group of coaches, counsellors, leaders and mentors who helped us grow and reach our unrealized ability. We should not forget to thank those people who have helped us shape our lives. Most times we cannot repay those debts – but in a little way we can contribute to the society, as a way to repay our debts.
The truth is that we all owe a debt to the society, not because we have done harm to people, no, but instead because we have benefited in one way or the other from someone else doing good.
I am a Christian and our expression of the Lord’s Prayer includes the phrase “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”.
Obviously no matter how good we are and how exemplary our lives are, we can never repay our debt to God or His Son Jesus, who died that we might be saved, so that part of the meaning is rather clear.
I believe this means that we should do good for goodness sake rather than any potential benefit we may reap from the act. I think there is another level of meaning and this comes back to the central idea of our debt to society.
When it comes down to acts of kindness there cannot be a one-to-one relationship. Obviously in many cases when a person is in need of help they may never be in a position to return that help in kind. But it isn’t really what we want or need when we offer help or kindness in any case.
Whenever you do something charitable, helpful, or kind, tend to view the act as contributing to a vast fund of kindness. Many times in our lives we have profited from these funds and very likely will continue to profit from them.
One of the reasons I like this concept is that I do think of it as a sort of fund or bank. The value grows exponentially rather than incrementally just as money would do if similarly invested. We should all be grateful for this because the truth is that we usually don’t pay our debt to society.
Often whenever we face pressure on our time or finances then it is our philanthropic activities that are the first to be sacrificed. I have been all too guilty of this myself. I wonder what would happen if we reversed this and instead put helping others first rather than last?
My challenge to us is simply to find a way to add to our goodness fund. Borrow from the concept of “Pay It Forward”.
When someone offers you a helping hand then be sure to pass the favor along at the first opportunity. Don’t pick and choose. Don’t balance your checkbook first. Don’t take the easy path. Do what is right. You will know it when you see it.
Happy Good Friday to Christians all over the world and remember that Jesus Christ paid the greatest debt, even the ones he did not owe for us.