Monday, November 06, 2006

Paying It Forward!

Hello All,

Many of you have likely heard of or seen the movie "Pay It Forward." I have not seen it, but the phrase has been resonating in my head for the last two weeks. Wikipedia gives this definition: "Pay it forward or paying it forward refers to repaying the good deeds one has received by doing good things for other unrelated people." If this is what the movie is about, then it is also not my intention to use this phrase that way. The phrase came to me when I was teaching Genesis 23 last week. (Many of you will notice that my last Genesis related blog was in chapter 21. Well, go ahead and try to find anything of great spiritual value from chapter 22! Now, let me pull my tongue out from the deep indention in my cheek and move on!)

You might recall to memory that Sarah dies in chapter 23 and Abraham is faced with a choice. Just prior to chapter 23, he receives news from home and his family there. They have grown and there seems to be much rejoicing in their neck of the woods. I wonder if Abraham might have had a moment's hesitation about staying in Canaan, the land of promise. For in Sarah's death, there was a new awareness of his own mortality. Where she would lie, he would lie. What does Abraham do? He purchases a grave in Canaan, for an exorbitant price, from the Hititte people.

At first, I felt that there was little there worth rummaging through. I know: BLASPHEMY! But upon further reflection, I realized what Abraham was doing. He was buying into the promise, fully investing himself and his family in the veracity of the claim that God would one day deliver this land to his seed. He was "Paying It Forward." (I believe this is further corroborated in chapter 24 when he forbids his servant to take Isaac back to the land of his family.) And you know what: He was buried in Macpelah. So was Isaac, Rebekah, Leah and Joseph. All came back to this land in death, believing that this was to be their land. None of them saw the fulfillment, but they all came back to Macpelah and were laid to rest there.

I don't want you to think that I have purchased a grave in Jerez! Not yet anyway! But I will bury my life in Christ, so that my children will come back to that reality as well. We all may live without seeing fulfillment, but I will "Pay It Forward" on their behalf as well. I noted in my sermon two Wednesdays ago that Lela can look back and see a Pastor in every successive decade, even to this day when her father Dan continues to teach in many nations and her brother Nate leads worship. This is not the case in my family. My Dad's conversion to Christ began the first generation of Christianity in our family. I would be the next in line, so I don't look to my past. I focus on the future and the hope that I have to see my children bury their lives in Jesus Christ.

Along the way, I pray that these nations that surround me, Lord willing Spain, will watch my life and the lives of other missionaries, and see us "pay forward" in the promise. I pray that as we do this, they will be won to the love of Jesus that would constrain them to do likewise.

I pray that you will join me in redeeming the time that is given you, making the most of every opportunity for the days are evil and the time is short. Perhaps most of us will live without seeing fulfillment. But if we hope to see someone enjoy that blessing in the future, then we must pay for it now.

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

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