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Pass It On

Other than a lunch date with my husband, I had no specific commitments or plans for the day I had off work just after New Year’s Day. So, I decided to get my car serviced, after which I would drop by the three small department stores in our county for any remaining after-Christmas deals.

My last stop was Kohl’s where I found two lightweight jackets for my mom’s consideration. Once she had a chance to try them on, I planned to return the one she liked the least. As I was in line waiting to pay for the jackets, the second customer in front of me produced a coupon for an additional 20 percent off her purchases. My mind whirled trying to remember if I had received any coupons in the mail, but my mind drew a blank. However, the coupon this customer handed the cashier appeared to be from a flyer, possibly from a newspaper insert, so I knew I was out of luck.

When this woman completed her transaction, she turned to the woman next in line, who happened to be the customer directly in front of me, and handed her the coupon. As she did so, I overheard her say to the woman something to the effect of, “I like to pass on good things to others.” The recipient of that coupon responded, “Thank you, so do I.”

At that point I became a little excited that the customer in front of me would “pay it forward.” Since she responded that she also liked to pass on good things, I got my hopes up that she might pass the coupon onto me when she was finished with it. Even though both of the jackets I was buying were more than 50 percent off already, I was thrilled with the idea of getting another 20 percent off.

As the cashier handed the coupon back to the woman, I watched her expectantly, waiting for her to look my way, hand me the coupon and say, “I like to pass on good things to others.” Instead, I watched as she folded the coupon, opened her purse, and stuck it inside. My mind was screaming, “WHAT?” A stranger had just given her an undeserved gift, and she claimed that she liked to pass good things on to others, too, but didn’t. Perhaps she planned to go back through the store to find additional items for which to apply the 20 percent coupon, or pass it on to a friend. Even though I had spoken to the woman earlier, perhaps she was just too timid to speak to or pass it to a stranger. Regardless of her intentions or the reasons for her keeping the coupon for herself, I knew I wasn’t going to be the beneficiary of a 20 percent off coupon.

Later in the day I wondered how I could make a spiritual application of this experience, and it was literally a “no brainer.” When Jesus hands us our undeserved “eternal life” coupon when we trust in Him as our Savior, it is His hope that we will pass on the Good News of the Gospel to someone else. No, let me put that another way. It is His plan that we will pass on the Good News of the Gospel to someone else.

Like the first woman who used the 20 percent off coupon, she was so thrilled to save extra money on her purchases that she didn’t want to keep that good fortune to herself, and immediately passed it on to someone else to benefit from it. That’s God’s expectations, too. He expects us to be so thrilled with what His Son accomplished on the cross and so jubilant over His saving grace, we will pass on the Good News to others without hesitation. But how many of us do that? Unfortunately, most of us are more like the second woman who shoves the Good News into hiding and keeps it to herself. I wonder how many folks around us are like me, wishing for the Good News to be passed on, but it never is.

Nearly every day I receive emails offering printable coupons, and Facebook friends boast of their grocery store savings and circulate website addresses through which coupons can be downloaded. We have become a society excited by coupons, resulting in the term “extreme couponing.” Yes, we’re vocal about coupons and share, share, share couponing information. Yet, the most important information we could ever share with another human being most often remains hidden in the recesses of our minds and hearts. We get excited about telling someone how they can get $1 off a grocery item, but we keep our mouths shut about how someone can get their sins forgiven and spend an eternity in heaven.

Many years ago a Christian song about “passing it on” became very popular. I thought about that song while writing this, and reflected on the validity of its words. Once we’ve experienced the love of a forgiving and merciful God, it should only be natural that we would want to pass it on.

In closing, I challenge you to reflect on the song’s words as you meditate on its message.

Pass It On

It only takes a spark to get a fire going,
And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing;
That's how it is with God's Love,
Once you've experienced it,
You spread His love to everyone
You want to pass it on.

What a wondrous time is spring,
When all the trees are budding
The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming;
That's how it is with God's love,
Once you've experienced it.
You want to sing, “It's fresh like spring,”
You want to pass it on.

I wish for you my friend
This happiness that I've found;
You can depend on Him
It matters not where you're bound,
I'll shout it from the mountain top - PRAISE GOD!
I want the world to know
The Lord of love has come to me
I want to pass it on.

I'll shout it from the mountain top - PRAISE GOD!
I want the world to know
The Lord of love has come to me
I want to pass it on.

1969 Bud John Songs, Inc.
Words and Music by Kurt Kaiser


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