Time for Thanks - For the Ultimate Gift

Today, as we are one week away from the day we all stop to purposefully give thanks, there is one lady who I imagine sees this as her greatest day of thanksgiving. Today, someone very special to me is giving part of her body to another and with it, hopefully, a fuller, longer life. I imagine the recipient and her family are more grateful than they've been in a great while. It's not often that one will sacrifice their very body for another, especially one they're not particularly close to. But it happened today.

Many people are amazed and full of admiration for my sister-in-law as she donates one of her very valuable kidneys to another person, and rightly so. It is quite the sacrifice. I mean, I'm someone who doesn't want to sacrifice my bunco night to take care of a sick kid, much less a vital organ to an acquaintance.

But shouldn't our amazement and admiration of this great gift pale in comparison to our amazement at the Gospel? My sister-in-law wants all glory to go to God for what she's doing. And it makes sense, if you think about it. It's in obedience to him that she's doing this. Not because she's a fabulous person (which I happen to think she is) or so that others will think her wonderful. It's because God says to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. So she's acting like he really meant it.

Today, I'm thankful for people in my life who practice what they preach. They are not perfect, but they love Jesus and seek to love others the way they themselves have been loved.

I'm thankful for the simplicity of the Gospel. We make it complicated when our pride and selfishness get in the way. But it's not. It was lived out today in a hospital not too far from my home. There was someone in need who could do nothing to save herself from death. And there was one who had the power to meet that need, and just so happened to also be loving enough to do it. So a gift was offered, not because it was earned, but because of love for one so in need. And the gift was received, not out of obligation or tradition, but because it was so desperately needed and so much appreciated.
We are all amazed at this selfless sacrifice, but at the end of today (a day that has thankfully ended with two successful surgeries) it was just a physical, earthly picture of what Jesus Christ has done for all of us spiritually. One day, both the donor and the recipient involved today will die, though the gift offered was beautiful. But they both have the hope that there is one gift of life that has been offered and received that will never end in death.

The shadow is a reality.

I'm thankful for the physical sacrifice given and the physical life received today. I'm a million times more thankful that it is just an earthly picture of an even greater spiritual reality.


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