08 Dec Giving What you Have
I had a modest upbringing. Both of my parents were school teachers and worked long hours, with little pay. Even though we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, they tithed faithfully, supported missionaries, and taught us to always give to others. My mom baked bread for friends, our family helped neighbors with yard work, and we made cards for people in the hospital.
My Dad also regularly donated blood. He is O positive, so he is considered a universal donor. What also makes his blood so unique, only 38% of the population have this same blood type. He faithfully gave at our local blood bank for years, and even chose to do apheresus (blood is drawn from one arm, spun and separated in a machine, and some is returned back, through the other arm) to maximize how often he could give. This process could take anywhere from 1.5-2 hours, but he believed in helping others with whatever he could do. The NICU at our local children’s hospital adored him. They would call him when they were running low and he would happily go in and donate because my Dad knew he was making a Difference.
“Joel pointed out to me that the average person has 10 pints of blood in their body. So, whenever a someone donates blood, they are actually tithing on their body.”
I’ll never forget when the Big Red Bus showed up at my high school for a blood drive. I was SO excited. I had admired my Dad for years and his dedication to giving blood to help people. I’ve never been scared of needles, so I signed up and eagerly waited my turn. After 20 minutes of the phlebotomist trying to find my veins, and 20 more minutes of watching my blood drip into the collection bag, I was told my low blood pressure and tiny veins made me less than an ‘optimal donor’. In fact, they removed the butterfly needle and told me I needed to go back to class. I was devastated. No amount of enthusiasm or commitment to giving blood was going to change my veins! I tried to remain optimistic, and asked if the little bit I gave would be able to help someone. Completely annoyed, she abruptly told me they would have to throw it away because they could only use full pints of blood. My dream of following in my Dad’s footsteps of being a lifetime blood donor was gone!
My husband has always been a generous man. I attribute that to his incredible father, who has modeled generous living and giving to a fault. Joel never really felt as passionate about donating blood as I do, and God gave him incredible veins (I say that with all the delight & jealousy it implies)! The amazing thing about this is, because of our discovery that Joel has high iron levels in his body (from hemochromatosis), the best therapy for him is to routinely donate blood. Not only is his donation helping others, my ironman’s blood is optimal for anemic patients. It’s actually improving Joel’s own health, too, because regular blood draws drop his iron levels. Of course God gave him great veins for that! What’s also remarkable, is God knew that Joel was going to carry on this legacy of giving blood for our children to witness, because I couldn’t.
I don’t believe giving is always limited to writing an offering check and paying for the guy’s Starbucks in the drive-through line behind you. Sometimes, it’s also giving what you have that is priceless. Your time, talent; and not just your treasure. Joel pointed out to me that the average person has 10 pints of blood in their body. So whenever someone donates a pint of blood, their actually tithing on their body. I love it when God’s math shows up in our daily routine.
What is something you have, that is uniquely yours, that you can use to bless others? It could be at your job or school, time with your friends, and you haven’t shared it because you thought it wasn’t really that important. God gives us all unique abilities and opportunities to help others and when we hoard those gifts, we rob others (and ourselves) from an incredible blessing. Challenge yourself to think ‘outside the box’ of giving. And don’t beat yourself up when you can’t give the same way as someone else. God will never ask you to give something you don’t have to give.