I’ve been thinking about sacrifice lately.
Via networking on LinkedIn, I’ve met some terrific people who are passionate about and fighting for organ donation. One person who is a member of a very large congregation in California shared some thoughts about sacrifice and giving. He has a viewpoint that has caused me to pause and think of giving in a new way.
Scripture instructs us to give to others.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
My new friend says in our culture we give, but not to the level we are asked to. In Jesus’ time water was precious. In the U.S. we truly take the availability of potable, high quality water on demand for granted. The fact that I can take showers multiple times a day in water that I can drink is a true blessing. The fact that we have swimming pools holding millions of gallons of potable water is pure luxury.
When I took a class for my master’s called “Man’s Impact on the Environment” I learned a lot about water and health. In many, many places in the world, women walk miles to retrieve and carry water. Read about little Fatima, who collects five 5-gallon cans of water each day, drags them home before she goes to school. It takes two hours to complete the task. I highly recommend viewing Blue Gold: World Water Wars. Watch women in Zambia carry water. Or children in India.
The point is water is precious and sharing it with a stranger when you have to walk long miles to retrieve it, and carry it with you because it is not readily available is a different level of giving. It’s giving to the point that you are making a sacrifice. It hurts.
My new contact in California points out the impact this kind of giving can have. If every Baptist congregation in the U.S. found 1 living donor for kidneys, there would be no waiting list for kidneys. That thought is amazing! Giving until it hurts can be extremely powerful. For example, a congregation in a depressed rust belt town raised more than $4 million to help people in the Sudan.
My friend Harvey Mysel, who is the founder of the Living Kidney Donor Network, hypothesizes that many people in the donor establishment may not be comfortable with living donation because then we have to face the question ourselves, “Why haven’t we donated a kidney?”
It’s a tough question. There are those in the establishment that believe a healthy person should not incur any risks. With more and more people being wait listed for organs (80% of which are for kidneys) and more people dying, living donation has to be considered a viable option.
If we consider living donation in the light of true sacrificial giving, perhaps we would think more seriously about personally donating a kidney. I know I am.
For more information about living donation click here.