For those of you who don’t know, in 2007 Regi was diagnosed with a degenerative lung disease. His disease progressed to the point of needing a lung transplant, which he was able to get last Monday at Emory Hospital in Atlanta. The road to recovery won’t be easy, but of course he is already learning things from the experience that he wants to share with all of us. Wouldn’t expect anything else . . .
In a couple of days, I’ll celebrate one week breathing with a new lung. A gift from someone I don’t know. Given from the end of their hope to the beginning of ours.
It seems to have gone about as well as it could. The lung is in. Healthy. The sewing . . . good and strong. Mechanically . . . it’s in good shape. Now the focus is on preventing infection and tricking my body into believing this foreign object belongs here permanently.
At a deeper level, the cost of this hope is more than I thought. Imagine a family sitting somewhere in a hospital being told their loved one’s hope for a normal life is over. Imagine the pressure of giving up hope and yielding it so others you don’t know can gain hope (from the liver, heart, kidneys and lungs) and sight from the corneas and other parts of the eyes.
I think about Jesus hanging on that Cross at three o’clock in the afternoon. Exhausted . . . excruciating pain. He took the ultimate step away from hope, into the abyss of darkness and separation from His Father so we could gain hope for redemption from death and eternal life.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). I can imagine giving up life and hope for people I know and love but it’s hard to imagine giving the gift of life and hope to people I don’t know. To total strangers.
Today my pastor taught us how to live generously. To help us see that everything we have comes from Him, recognizing ours is a stewardship, not an ownership. Whatever is put in our hand is ‘held lightly,’ received with gratitude . . . childlike surprise, then shared with selfless generosity and joy.
Earlier, my son (sitting in the hospital with me today) asked “What will you do differently now Dad? What’s this ‘transplanted perspective’ going to mean for you each day? Will you have a new plan?” My answer was simple to say, but hard to do. “I want to live more lovingly, being intentionally kind and loving to every person I meet.” . . . “And I want to live more generously, with less pressure, take more time to do fewer things and be in less of a hurry. My recovery will force this for awhile, but then it’ll likely get harder. Life will resume. The to-do list will come back.
Will I give love selflessly? Will Jesus live through me for others to see? Will I allow Jesus to shine His hope through me to those I mentor? Will they see someone who embodies Christ in a kind, compelling and generous way? I sure hope so. I don’t believe God has brought this about to leave me where I was. I think He wants more for me . . . to love me and use me in a greater way. I sure love being one of His sons and I sure appreciate all the expressions of love and your prayers for me this week. You can’t imagine how loved and blessed I’ve felt. Thank you for all of us.
ACTIVATE THE MEN IN YOUR CHURCH
Small group mentoring can help you engage your men, build your core group of leaders, and transform your church. Our free resources equip you with all the tools you need to launch a sustainable mentoring program.