According to recent statistics, approximately 6,000 people in the United States donated a kidney last year – 3,000 to a blood relative and the other half to a friend. Just over 100 donated anonymously to a stranger.
Assuming you were a viable match and physically capable, would you donate your kidney?
I’ve been pondering that question ever since I learned that my brother, Mike, is donating his to a friend. The surgery is scheduled for next Friday.
Here’s how it came about.
Mike and his wife were enjoying dinner at a friend’s house just after Christmas. The conversation turned to health. Dee, their host, began sharing news about her struggle with diabetes and that her kidneys were shutting down. Was she on dialysis? Yes. This brave woman undergoes the procedure 3-5 times per week! What about the possibility of a donor kidney? Her brother offered but was disqualified due to his regimen of blood pressure medication.
My brother was completely unfamiliar with the parameters of donation. He asked whether the organ had to come from a blood relative. Dee told him no, and asked why. Mike then proceeded to tell her he’d like to be tested to see if he’d be a match.
Dee was stunned and incredulous.
“Look,” Mike replied, “you have a need and I have a kidney, let’s see if I qualify as a donor. It is what Christ would want me to do.”
Shortly thereafter, Mike was tested. He was a perfect match.
Still, I’m embarrassed to tell you of my first reaction to the news.
“No! Don’t do it,” I said to him. “You might need the other one someday!”
As I said, I’m not proud of that selfish reflex, though it didn’t take me long to see that Mike was doing the right thing.
Mike reflected this past weekend on the coming surgery:
For a long time now the Lord had been calling me to a greater life of surrender, of laying my life down completely for Him and for others. Several Bible passages call us as believers to look not at our interests only, but to the interests of others. How can you say you love God and close up your heart to your brother who has a need?
I’m proud and humbled to be Mike’s little brother. I’m still learning from this man after all these years by watching him exemplify Christ-like behavior. He is not only a good and wise brother, but also a great man. He sees the world and his role in it from a biblical perspective. In donating this kidney, he is giving away what he knows he can’t keep – in exchange for a blessing that he knows he’ll never lose.
Let me ask you: Where have you seen this type of Christian love in action? Even more personally, have you ever been the beneficiary of this type of selfless act? I would love to hear your story.
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