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Paying It Forward: Rote or Real?

First Love Hardness of Heart God's Love

Source: "Florida Man Deliberately Scuttles Another 'Pay It Forward' Starbucks Line," By ABC News, August 22, 2014

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Benjamin Burks | Date Posted: 2024-02-28

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:7 ; Revelation 2:4

Author: Benjamin Burks


Florida Man Deliberately Scuttles Another 'Pay It Forward' Starbucks Line

How it started:

A nice man, we'll call him John, loved the simple joy of giving. He was well-known in his community for his acts of kindness, always looking for ways to brighten someone's day. One morning, inspired by stories he'd heard, John decided to start a "pay it forward" chain at his local Starbucks Coffee Shop. He paid for his coffee and for the order of the person in line behind him, leaving the cashier with a smile and instructions to keep the chain going.

For hours, the chain continued, each person "seemingly" touched by the gesture, deciding to pass on the kindness.

How it ended, according to ABC News: 

A Florida man put an end to another “pay it forward” streak at a local Starbucks because he said he thinks people were participating out of “guilt,” not “generosity.”

Peter Schorsch, a blogger, drove to the Starbucks drive-thru in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Thursday after hearing about the pay it forward phenomenon there that ended with customer No. 458, a woman, the day before. After he ordered two Venti Mocha Frappuccinos, the barista told him his first drink had been paid for by the previous customer and asked if he would like to pay for the next customer.

“I told him no,” Schorsch, of St. Petersburg, told ABC News. “When the barista asks you to pay it forward, it is no longer spontaneous.”


“I’m really not trying to be a Grinch,” Schorsch said. “I know things are hard for baristas and I am willing to help people.”

“I just don’t want to be forced into doing something." ...

When baristas ask customers to pay for the next customer, some patrons simply oblige out of guilt, not generosity, he said.

But before you go thinking all generosity was lost, story ends on a good note ...

Though Schorsch didn't pay for the next customer at the drive-thru, he said he tipped the barista $100.


This story serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of keeping our first love of kindness and generosity alive, not just in actions, but in spirit.

In the early days of following Jesus, our acts of kindness are often driven by a heartfelt response to the love we've experienced in Christ. Over time, however, it's easy for our actions to become mechanical, a matter of rote obligation or compulsion rather than a reflection of a deeply felt love and generosity.

Just as John initiated the pay-it-forward chain out of a genuine desire to spread kindness, we are called to ensure that our acts of love, service, and generosity stem from a place of genuine care and compassion. When we act out of obligation or for recognition, we lose the essence of what it means to love as Jesus loved.

The call to not lose our first love is a call to remember why we started in the first place. It's an invitation to revisit the heart of our actions, ensuring they are rooted in genuine love and not merely in habit or expectation. 

Whether it's in acts of kindness, our service to others, or our relationship with God, let's commit to keeping our hearts engaged, our motives pure, and our love fresh.

In doing so, we not only enrich our own lives, but also truly reflect the heart of Christ to the world around us. Let's not let our love become rote; instead, let's ensure it remains vibrant, heartfelt, and deeply rooted in the love we first received.

"But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first" (Revelation 2:4, ESV).

"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 (NIV).


The Frosty Creep of a Hardening Heart

Hardness of Heart Disobedience Unbelief

Source: The Way Into the Holiest: Expositions of the Epistle to the Hebrews By Frederick Brotherton Meyer, p. 75-76.

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2023-02-01

Scripture: Hebrews 3:15

Author: F. B. Meyer


Guard especially against heart-hardening. Hard hearts are unbelieving ones; therefore beware of ossification of the heart. The hardest hearts were soft once, and the softest may get hard. The chalk which now holds the fossil shells was once moist ooze. The horny hand of toil was once full of soft dimples. The murderer once shuddered when, as a boy, he crushed a worm. Judas must have been once a tender and impressionable lad.

At first the process can be detected by none but a practiced eye. Then there is a thin film of ice, so slender that a pin or needle would fall through. At length it will sustain a pebble, and, if winter still hold its unbroken sway, a child, a man, a crowd, a cart will follow. We get hard through the steps of an unperceived process. -- F.B. Meyer


Meyer concludes,

The constant hearing the truth without obeying it. The knowing a better and doing the worse. The cherishing of unholy things that seem fair as angels. The refusal to confess the wrong and to profess the right. All these things harden. Beware of the deceitfulness of sin! Take heed to yourselves! Exhort one another daily.

"As it is said, 'Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion'” (Hebrews 3:15, ESV).

The Bible Message In 217 Words

God's Patience End Times Hardness of Heart

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-10-05

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:4

Author: Mitchell Dillon


God said, “I created everything from nothing, order from disorder, life from lifelessness.”  His children said, “No, the universe created itself and life came about by random chance.” God said, “I made mankind to be male and female.” His children said, “No, we’ll decide how many genders there are and which one we want to be.”  God said, “I knew you in the womb, you have been fearfully and wonderfully made.”  His children said, “No, the unborn are just fetal tissue with no right to live until WE grant it.”  God said, “the marriage bond is to be between a man and a woman.”  His children said, “No, we will have sexual relations whenever and with whomever we please.” God said, “Despite your rebellion, I love you with an everlasting love, so I sent my only Son to die for the sins of the whole world.  Whoever believes in Him will gain eternal life!”  His children said, “No, we reject the bigotry of such a narrow point of view.”  God said, “One day I will return to redeem my Creation from corruption.” His children said, “No, we will save the planet ourselves.”  And while God patiently waited for mankind to come to their senses and repent, His children mockingly asked, “Where is the promise of His coming?”


"Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.  They will say, 'Where is this "coming" he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation' ... The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:3-4, 9, NIV).  

Where Have All The Bibles Gone?

Cultural Trends Faith Hardness of Heart

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-03-22

Author: Illustration Exchange

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CHARLIE HEBDO Says Don't Pray for Paris

Prayer Religion Hardness of Heart

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-11-20

Scripture: John 14:27

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Critics Choice

Hardness of Heart Resurrection Bible

Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2015-08-04

Scripture: John 1:11

Author: Mitchell Dillon

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The Cult of Prince Philip of England

Idolatry False Teachers Hardness of Heart

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-06-17

Scripture: Romans 1:18

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Chicago and Baltimore Flair With Violence Over Memorial Day

Violence Complacency Hardness of Heart

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-05-27

Scripture: Matthew 5:21

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Removing The Log From Your Ear

Hardness of Heart Hearing God's Voice Humor

Contributed By: Larry Lewis | Date Posted: 2014-09-15

Scripture: James 1:22

Author: James S. Hewett

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Guard Your Heart

Church/Body of Christ Hardness of Heart Spiritual Health

Contributed By: Dave Stough | Date Posted: 2014-09-15

Scripture: Proverbs 4:23

Author: Dave Stough

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