Something of a Sacrifice

I have not blogged in a bit because I had been in the hospital, and then at home recovering and simply did not feel like blogging. For all of my concerned readers, no worries on my end. I am fine. I was in the hospital because I gave up one of kidneys to a dear friend, a sister in the Lord, who needed one. What follows is a little piece I wrote for my congregation, and I thought I would share it here as well. Concerning my friend, I plead for your prayers. You can follow her updates over at her CaringBridge blog, here. I am requesting your prayers on her behalf because, as you can read here, her body has been fussy and begun to reject her new kidney. In all of this, no matter the outcome, we must affirm God’s goodness. He, after all, is our heavenly Father.

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You have probably heard that I have donated one of my kidneys to a friend. Shara contracted Lupus when she was pregnant three years ago and the Lupus shut down her kidneys. Her husband, Justin, is a friend I met in seminary, and both of them have been very grateful for my sacrifice to them. And this is something I would like to address here. Sacrifice.

There are a couple places (okay, a lot) in Scripture where it is evident that the command to the faithful is to be willing to give up himself for the sake of another. For example, Proverbs 3:27 tells us, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” And Galatians 6:10 builds on this command saying, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” A very simple understanding of why I am giving a kidney to a sister in the Lord should be rather clear: she is a sister in the Lord and is in need. It certainly is as simple as that. However, it is much more expansive than that.

This brings me back to the Word of God and what the Bible is. The Bible is God’s will for His people. God has commanded His children to do certain things and in His providence He has arranged for everything to occur. For example, God has given me the same blood-type as Shara. But even before we knew that, God caused Justin and me to meet and form a friendship, so that I would know Shara and her need. God has caused me to be healthy enough to give a portion of my body away. God has caused surgeons to be able to transplant organs, and so on. God has structured His world and history in such a way that His commands to His people will come to pass for their obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Many folks whom I have talked to about this donation are rather flabbergasted about why I would give a kidney to a friend’s wife that I have only known for a few years, but according to God’s Word, I am flabbergasted as to why someone would assume I wouldn’t lay down my life for a friend (John 15:13).

However, this is not a call for each Christian to seek out organ donation! I was not actively seeking a person to give my kidney to, but God did bring a member of the household of faith to me who needs a kidney. There is a difference there. And because the biblical worldview sees God’s hand in all things, I do not fear this operation. This transplant would not come to pass if God did not want it to.

I have been asked, “Are you afraid of dying?” My answer is that I am not afraid of death. Jesus conquered that (Romans 6:1-11). I am afraid of leaving behind my wife and children, my family, and my church. But my concerns must rest on the sovereign goodness of God. If I die, I die to the Lord. If Shara dies, she dies to the Lord. And God, as our Father, will care for His children in my absence. He is capable of being Husband and Father to my wife and children.

Giving up an organ is certainly a sacrifice, but it is also faithfulness. As your pastor, I am not calling you to give up your organs, but the exhortation of God’s Word is to be faithful to your brothers and sisters. We are called to give of ourselves for the sake of those Christ died for.

“By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:16-18

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