Recently I have become intrigued with the concept of “paying forward.”

We go through a drive-through window at a fast-food restaurant, only to discover when we drive up to a “pay window,” that the person in the car in front of us had paid for our bill. In return, we have done a similar thing to the person behind us in line.

A local Christian radio station recently shared an editorial concerning the value of “paying forward.” It draws us closer to our community, to the business individuals that are involved in its transaction and our gratitude to God who often inspires the action at a time when we seemingly need it the worst.

Recently, an employee at one of our area businesses stopped in to his place of work to receive his pay check. He rushed to the bank to cash the transaction, but when he arrived, the check was nowhere to be found. It was one of those extra-ordinary days when we were experiencing high winds and apparently somehow the check had been swept from him when he stepped into his car.

He rushed back to the parking lot of the building, but the check was not to be found. Other office employees helped search for the valuable document but it was nowhere to be found. Thankfully, the business took the action of canceling the check and replacing it within a few days. Trusted employers who “pay forward” in emergencies such as that are to be cherished in a busy and often misunderstood world.

Recently, I have been overwhelmed by the gift of “paying forward.” My wife and I enjoyed a good visit and meal together in a local restaurant. The time to share in a busy world was a wonderful gift, one as though it was a “pay forward” from God Himself. But He wasn’t quite done. As I approached the cash register, the waitress said, “oh, you’re taken care of. Someone paid forward for you.”

I looked around the eatery and we were the only ones there at the time. The person who paid forward had already left in their humility.

The day following New Year’s, I was waiting in line to pay at a local Minimart. An elderly lady was in front of me. My purchase was a cup of coffee. When she finished making her transaction, she turned and to my surprise handed me a one dollar bill.

“I want to pay forward for your coffee,” she said. “People have been so good to me; I would like to pay forward on your New Year.”

She smiled, patted me on the arm and walked out of the store, leaving me with hope unbounded looking into 2020.

Oh yes, about that check that blew away. I was informed when I arrived at work a couple of days ago that someone on the other side of town had found my check, many blocks from the office and had returned it to my place of employment.

Although the transaction had been taken care of, my heart was so touched by the “mystery pay forward person” that returned my check. I don’t know who you are but your honesty been a most encouraging act of honesty and kindness to initiate the New Year.