In our neck of the woods, it is not uncommon to pass by a horse and buggy with a family headed to market or to church or to a neighbor's home. We are used to the presence of Mennonites in our daily lives. We see them at the store, we shop in their shops, we drop by the roadside stands for fresh vegetables in the summertime. They are a part of our community.
When our friends, the Catlins, recently experienced a loss by fire to their bulk and natural food store, (Hillcrest Bulk and Natural Foods) the response was so wonderful, I must share this with you:
In one day, just three days after the fire, the damaged section had been taken down and re-built. There is a comment in the article that no payment was discussed or expected. Let me tell you why...
Liz and Steve make weekly deliveries to many Mennonite families. This is a true "Win/Win" for the Catlins and the Mennonites. You see, to go to market is no easy chore for a Mennonite family. Remember: they typically travel by foot, bicycle, or horse and buggy! So the service that Hillcrest Bulk and Natural Foods does saves a lot of time that can be spent on other, more pressing needs, at the Mennonite homesteads they service.
To me, the concept of "pay it forward" is at work here. Too often people only do things for others when they have some "quid pro quo" thought in mind...i.e. "I'll do this for you if you do this for me." Now, the Catlins don't deliver their goods for free, but the value of the service, in the eyes of their Mennonite friends, far outweighs the price. "Paying it Forward" means doing things today that are good and right and that bespeak your values and right principles, just because they are the right things to do. The goodwill and generosity of the Mennonites are, I believe, a manifestation of the Catlins "paying it forward."
God bless this community.