This story, as I know it, starts about 15 years ago, when I met Claudia Morgan at my new church’s college and career group. It was the same group in which I also met my future husband, Peter. At that time, Claudia was studying to become a florist. She was extremely talented, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her. In many ways, we were opposites. I was high energy and impulsive; she always seemed so calm. But the love that sparkled from her eyes was real, and her deep, melodic laugh warmed my heart. We soon became friends.

Her dad had passed away years before, from kidney problems. Her younger brother, Phill, was still working through the implications of what it meant to not have an earthly father around. Certain men in the church were spiritual role models for him, and both Claudia and Phill became especially dear to my heart. Those years of college and career group are some of my most treasured memories.

Since then, Claudia and I have had a slightly looser relationship. Peter and I moved to a new city after our marriage, and later become missionaries in Japan. That tends to put a damper on being able to maintain relational closeness with friends back in Canada.

However, Peter’s parents continued to attend the same church as Claudia, and we would hear small updates on everyone’s news from time to time. When Claudia started to experience kidney problems, we eventually heard about it. When I learned of the severity of her illness, her ongoing dialysis requirements, and eventual need for a transplant, all the old love flowed back into my heart.

I decided that I would get tested as a possible donor. However, by this point, I had experienced health problems of my own. I knew they might disqualify me from being able to help Claudia. So I also put out a general call to all of my contacts, and directly approached a few of them, in an effort to expand the possible donor base.

This week, my sister will be giving one of her kidneys to Claudia—somebody who was a stranger to her less than a year ago. She has her own story—an inspiring testimony to the love and provision of our Heavenly Father. God has filled her heart, too, with great love for this sister in Christ.

Julia’s donation this week is a concrete example of the principle that Jesus taught:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
(John 13:34-35)

As I consider Julia and Claudia’s story, it raises a question for me.

You see, if we as followers of Jesus are truly obeying His commands, then we should act in sacrificially loving ways towards each other all the time. Our money, time, and resources should flow freely between each other, as each one has a need. We should be known for our love, known for radical sacrifice. The world should look at us and be amazed at the lack of need among us.

So here’s my question:

Why aren’t there false conversions to Christianity by people who need kidney donations?

We each need only one kidney to lead a healthy, normal life. The Bible tells us, through John the Baptist, that if we have two of something, we should give one away. [1]

Why do we horde our bodies, our time, our money—as if they’re ours?

They are resources given to us by our Heavenly Father. We may have worked hard for these resources, but God has given us bodies and brains to enable us to do so. Many of us have won the genetic lottery by being born in rich countries where opportunities abound. We had no control over this; it was a gift from God. Everything ultimately belongs to Him.

If we are truly living Christ-like lives, our love should be so spectacular that anyone who needs a kidney should immediately receive one. Our love should be so radical that people who are not Christians, but need kidneys, should be tempted to say they are Christians because they would be guaranteed to get one quickly from fellow church members, rather than languish on a years-long waiting list. Our love should be so intense that we would not become cynical of false conversions, but would joyfully give of our bodies in honour to Christ and let Him sort out who the “real” Christians are. Who knows? Perhaps false conversions would turn into real ones.

I understand that some of us are not in a healthy place. We may have problems that disqualify us from this type of sacrifice. But we can give money. We can give time. No matter who we are or what we have, there is always something that we can give. I'm not just talking about the odd night at the soup kitchen or the $50 contribution we sometimes make to salve our consciences. We have it within ourselves to give and serve with dazzling generosity, in loving sacrifice.

So why don’t we?


[1] See Luke 3:11.

(Picture source)