Free Pizza (Pay It Forward)
Main Point: It doesn’t cost much to be kind to others so we should seize every opportunity because of the good it will do.
The Discussion Starter:
Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia is unlike most pizza joints around the country. The owner allows his customers the opportunity to pay for a slice of pizza in advance for those in need. Anyone who wants to “pay it forward” can simply give a buck to the clerk, and then fill out a sticky note with a simple message, and post it on the wall.
When a homeless person or someone in need comes in, they can simply grab one of the sticky notes off the wall and redeem it for a slice of fresh pizza at the cash register.
It’s a really neat idea that’s impacting the neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Take a look at the video for yourself.
The Video Clip:
The clip can be found online at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brzjeICcIt0
It’s a simple idea, isn’t it? Just walk in, grab your slice of pizza, and pay for one for somebody else. It’s a great picture of practical kindness. Somebody who has enough is given the opportunity to share with someone who doesn’t. Most people can afford the buck it costs to pay for someone a slice of pizza, and it’s encouraging to see so many do it for others. That’s the deal with kindness, though. It doesn’t cost us a whole lot: smiling at someone, giving up your seat, speaking an encouraging word, or buying a slice of pizza. All of us can do that. And we should. Let’s talk about how we can seize every opportunity in life to be kind to others for the good it will bring about in the lives of others…and our own.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite kind of pizza.
- ASK A FEW: Before we go any further in our discussion, can someone explain the concept of “Pay It Forward”? What does that mean?
- ASK A FEW: So, we just watched a clip about the folks in Philly buying slices of pizza for the homeless in their city. Is that a good idea? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: The slice of pizza costs $1. Would you buy someone a slice of pizza? Why?
- ASK A FEW: If you were to buy a slice of pizza for somebody, what would you write on the sticky note?
- ASK A FEW: This pizza joint is located in Philadelphia. How are the people of that city living up to their nickname? (Leaders – Remember, Philly is called the City of Brotherly Love.)
- ASK A FEW: In your opinion, does a slice of pizza make that much difference? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: How do you think God feels about projects like these? Why?
Read the following passage:
CONTEXT: David has been king for several years now, and he became so after his predecessor Saul died in battle. For the most part, Saul disliked David and was jealous of him, but David showed him kindness and spared his life on multiple occasions. Saul’s son Jonathan became a strong friend to David, and both knew that it would be David who would one day reign on the throne instead of Jonathan. But David swore an oath to Jonathan to always take care of his children and grandchildren should something happen to him. In this story, we’ll meet Mephibosheth, one of Jonathan’s sons, and see what King David does for him.
2 Samuel 9:1 – 13
David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They called him to appear before David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” “Your servant,” he replied. 3 The king asked, “Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet.” 4 “Where is he?” the king asked. Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.” 5 So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel. 6 When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, “Mephibosheth!” “Your servant,” he replied. 7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” 8 Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” 9 Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.” (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.) 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons. 12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica, and all the members of Ziba’s household were servants of Mephibosheth. 13 And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table, and he was crippled in both feet.
During our time together, we watched a simple but powerful video about the people of Philadelphia showing “brotherly love” to the citizens of their city by buying a slice of pizza for those who were in tremendous need. It was an easy (and cheap) way to powerfully impact the lives of those less fortunate.
Then, we took a trip back in time to when a king did the same thing for a crippled man. David, the King of Israel, hunted down Mephibosheth to show him kindness for the sake of his father, Jonathan. What a tremendous act David made on behalf of Mephibosheth: he searched for him, found him, brought him up to Jerusalem, and made a promise to feed him at his own table for the rest of his life! That’s incredible kindness.
By the way, this story points to another story of a different King [Jesus], chasing down some other helpless Mephibosheths [you and me], and taking them to the palace [Heaven] because of His loving kindness for us. That’s a beautiful story and it impacts us directly…and eternally. All of us who know Jesus have been given a huge gift of kindness by God.
Since we have received such loving kindness from God, and since we know that our kindness can change the lives of others, we should show kindness to those who are in need. It doesn’t cost a lot; in fact, it may not cost anything. But it could make a big impact in the life of someone in need.
Before we broke out of our small groups, we were asked who we could show kindness to this week, and in what way. I want to pray for each of those encounters this week, and give you a chance to do the same. As we close up, I’m going to give you a moment to pray silently for the person who needs your kindness, and then, I will wrap us up in prayer asking God to use each and every one of you. Sound good? Let’s pray!
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.