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There was once a man who was bitten by a dog, which was later discovered to be rabid. The man was rushed to the hospital where tests revealed that he had, in fact, contracted rabies. At the time, medical science had no cure for this disease and so his doctor faced the difficult task of informing him that his condition was incurable and terminal. "Sir, we will do all we can to make you comfortable. But I cannot give you false hope. There is nothing we can really do. My best advice is that you put your affairs in order as soon as possible."

The dying man sank back on his bed in shock, but finally rallied enough strength to ask for a pen and some paper. He then set to work with great energy. An hour later, when the doctor returned, the man was stilling writing vigorously. The doctor commented "I’m glad to see that you’re working on your will."

"This ain’t no will, Doc." Replied the dying man, "this is a list of the people I’m going to bite before I die."

This story reminds me of a movie released in 2000 called Pay It Forward that tells the story of a boy named Trevor. Trevor has been given an assignment by his social studies teacher to come up with a plan that will change the world. His plan is to "pay it forward" by doing a good deed for three people who must in turn each do good deeds for three other people. The boy becomes disheartened by the adults in his life who resist changing their own lives to make the world a better place.

How insightful of Jesus to use money and forgiveness in the same parable! Two of the most difficult areas for people to submit to God are their possessions and their hurts.

(From a sermon by Tommy Burrus, Pay It Forward, 10/14/2009)

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