On Sunday, December 3rd, we gave everyone in our congregation a five-dollar bill. The members could choose anything they wanted to do with the money as long as it lifted someone up. In short, they had to “pay it forward.” And so those $5 bills went out into the world and lifted up people from every walk of life.
Last week we gathered to share what people did with their money . . .
One person gave it to the street vendor outside their apartment to help offset the cost of fruit that someone had stolen from his cart.
Another person went to Dollar Tree and used the money to buy mittens for kids in an inner-city school in the Bronx.
Someone gave their five dollars to help a struggling artist performing in Grand Central Terminal.
One member used it to fund supplies for a woman in Afghanistan so that she might learn tailoring skills and eventually start a business
And one person gave it to their waitress at lunch and said, “take $5 off your next bill, then tell the customer why, and invite them to pay it forward in their own life.”
It was a powerful lesson on how to do a lot with a little. We don’t need tons of money or a huge foundation or an army of people to change the world. We can help others with tiny, personal gestures that show we care. Sometimes just making someone feel acknowledged or heard can heal.
Try it this week! Take a five-dollar bill and see what you can do to “lift someone up.” Hopefully, they will be inspired to do the same. And eventually, one kind gesture at a time, we can leave this earth better than we found it. As the author, Margaret Mead said, “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever has.”