TRAVEL LOG: God, Coffee, $100 & Many Blessings
Updated: May 16
Several years ago in 2010, when I was living in my hometown in South Carolina, there was (and has expanded since) a coffee shop that I would frequent. I loved going there because of the friendly folks and an awesome small-town atmosphere where everybody knows everybody. A small, cozy place to hang out with friends or just sit quietly and read or perhaps people watch.
One morning that I went there, I felt led by God to leave $100 at the counter. I told the owner to use the money to “pay it forward,” to bless others who would come in for their coffee. So it began, I would leave money at the counter every month or so to bless others. A few times, I would sit back and watch in anonymity, the folks coming in and seeing their reaction when they learned their coffee was already paid for. Other times, I would go my way and hear the stories later of the folks coming in and their expressions of gratitude for getting a free cup of coffee. Sometimes there were tears of gratitude, others would add to the “pay it forward” dollars, which I later learned added up to more than $1,000 total. Some people would ask, “Who did this?” or “Why would someone do this? Who does such a thing? Who does a no-strings attached donation to bless others with a simple cup of coffee?” This Southern gal did (and I still do my pay it forward concept to this day). There was even a time where a customer walked into the coffee shop, asked if that coffee shop was “the place where people gave $100 for other people’s drinks.” The customer said that he wanted to do the same, then he did just that-he left $100 on the counter and went his way without getting a cup of coffee for himself.
The moral to my story, and let me tell you, is when one is obedient to what God says to do, there is no end to His joy and outpouring to all-which makes me want to do His Will even more. To see the blessings of having someone smile, to have their day changed just because of a paid for cup of coffee… it was worth it every penny. I did this anonymous “pay it forward” at my favorite coffee shop several more times while living nearby, and then something BIG happened! The word got out… and according to the owner, the stories started coming in. Next, coffee shops across America adopted a similar pay it forward initiative. Folks were doing the same thing, leaving money at the counter so that others could enjoy a free cup of coffee. This obedience to God in my leaving money at the counter to bless others, sparked a nationwide movement of paying it forward. Two years later in 2012, a national magazine along with a national radio show spotlighted my “pay it forward” blessings, which in turn, sparked even more random acts of kindness across our Nation!
It is a very humbling to know that by being obedient to God, even in the simplest of things, like buying a cup of coffee for someone else, that many blessings would rain down. I take great comfort in just knowing that through the participation of many – the who-so-evers somewhere, anywhere, whether in a small-town or a big city coffee shop, that smiles, hope and inspiration spread the movement across this great country of ours by doing the same thing, paying it forward. Today, this fills my heart and I hope it fills yours as well with overflowing joy and a spark to compassion for helping others. When God tells you to step out and do His will, do it boldly and quickly! His blessings will rain down all over you and spill out to others! I think the biggest impact for me from this experience is that every time I hear the saying “paid for,” I immediately think of our Savior and Lord who went to the Cross for us. He paid for our sins, unconditionally, because of His great love for us! Who does that? Why would anyone do that? Jesus did because of His Agape, unconditional love for us all!
My name is Ruth and have the calling of an Evangelist. It is my dedicated service to God to spread His Good News to any and all who will listen. Talking with people is something I love to do and will do so at every chance given.
2 Corinthians 9:7 "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
Galatians 6:9 "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."