Take One, Pass It On

It’s amazing what a small act of selflessness can do for another.

Last night, as we finished up some last minute Christmas shopping, my mom and I decided to swing by the McDonalds drive-through and surprise the rest of the family with some of their little hot fudge sundaes. (They’re just so cheap and tasty and hard to resist.) When we reached the lady at the pay window, she informed us that the person in the car in front of us had already payed for our order. The employee went on to tell us that the man had been circling through the drive-through all night paying for strangers’ orders.

Even though our order was less than $5, this act of magnanimity exemplified everything I’ve felt God teaching me the last few weeks: joyful, gracious giving without expected payback. And there I sat, on the receiving end. So, I wondered to myself, How can I receive graciously? 

“How much is the person’s order in the car behind us?” I asked the lady at the window while reaching for my wallet and handing her the amount she told me. I did not need my order to be payed for, but perhaps the car behind me did; and if they did not, I hope they’d pay forward the good work until it reached someone who did.

The lady seemed shocked, flustered even. We drove home and (literally) only God knows what happened in the McDonalds drive-through from there. The incident was quick, but left an incredible impression on me.

I am grateful for the individual who bought my ice cream because they allowed me understand how it feels to accept selfless giving. I can hardly imagine the blessing those in need must feel. Not only did I feel an indescribable sense of gratitude and blessing, but I felt compelled and inspired to pass along the gift. I could not directly return the favor to the car in front of us; in fact, I can’t even remember what kind of car they were in. Yet, I felt it would honor them to keep their selfless and kind act going.

It’s cheesy but true that good works multiply themselves. Let us, in the spirit of Jesus multiplying loaves of bread and fish, live out our calling to multiply and spread the fortunes we receive.

With all this said, I think God used my encounter with the mysterious McDonalds gifter to put giving into perspective for me: to experience the beauty in giving firsthand and understand the significance of gracious receiving.

I am encouraged. And I’ve never tasted sweeter ice cream prior to last night.

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24

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