“And Then Some...”
By: Brent Lewis
It all comes back …
Do you believe the verse in Proverbs that says, “Yes, the liberal man shall be rich; by watering others, he waters himself” (Proverbs 11:25, Living Bible)? I do. Let me tell you why.
Two years ago Patricia West learned from her doctor just how special she is. Her blood contains some unusual antibodies found in only one out of every 5,000 persons. Since nineteen of twenty people are unable or unwilling to donate blood, her blood is for all practical purposes one in 100,000. That poses a critical problem for an otherwise routine procedure like a transfusion.
Would she be willing to donate some of her rare blood in case someone else needed it? Some stranger’s life might depend upon it. She would. And she did. Later Mrs. West moved from Florida to Michigan. The someone with that rare blood type hemorrhaged following simple surgery. It was Mrs. West herself.
Her doctors frantically searched for some compatible blood. None was available. In desperation they called the National Rare Donor Registry whose computers located the blood in Florida. Doctors had no doubt that this blood in a freezer of the Edison Blood Bank would be compatible with the patient. It was Pat’s own blood!
Virginia Parsons, director of the blood bank, said the standard shelf life of frozen blood is three years. “But very, very rare units like this are kept for seven or eight years.” It was packed in thirty pounds of dry ice and sent across the country on a life-saving mission. Patricia West lives today because two years ago she was willing to give her own blood!
Life is like that. What we hoard and try to keep as treasure somehow gets away. What we give away so often comes back. But then that’s what the Lord said in His Word: “It is possible to give away and become richer; also possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything” (Proverbs 11:24, Living Bible).
—Douglas F. Parsons
Two wise goats
Martin Luther is credited with the following interesting story. Two mountain goats meet each other on a narrow ledge just wide enough for one of the animals. On the left there is a sheer cliff, and on the right a deep lake. The two face each other. What should they do? They cannot back up—that would be too dangerous. They cannot turn around because the ledge is too narrow.
Now, if the goats had no more sense than some people, they would meet head on and start butting each other until they fell into the lake below. Luther tells us that goats have better sense than this. One lies down on the trail and lets the other literally walk over him; both are safe. They must be willing, however (at least one of them), humbly to lie down and let the other pass over him. If they were like some people, they would argue about who should lie down, and who should walk over. But, evidently, “goat sense” is common sense!
Is there any need to make an application to ourselves? How often our stubbornness results in tragedy. How hard to be the least, to humble ourselves for the best interests of others. We hear folks say, “I’m going to stand up for my rights!” How much better it would be to meekly “suffer wrong” and be the least. “Tis hard to learn such a lesson as this.” Another says, “It is the principle of the thing I’m fighting for. It’s not the few cents involved, or the results I’ve borne … but I must defend my principles!” Remember, the principal thing is love, and the Bible says, “love … is kind … seeketh not its own” (1 Corinthians 13:4–5). Better to allow yourself to be walked over than to quarrel.
Here lies the body of Jonathan Gray,
Who died maintaining his right-of-way.
He was right, dead right, as he sped along.
But he’s just as dead as if he’d been wrong.
“Let all your things be done with love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).
While on a walk one day, I was surprised to see a man hoeing the garden while sitting in a chair. “What laziness!” I thought. But suddenly I saw leaning against his chair a pair of crutches. The man was at work despite his handicap.
The lesson I learned about snap judgments has stayed with me for years. Many of the crosses people bear are seldom in plain sight.
Originally appeared in the December 1986 issue of Christianity Magazine.