Monday, April 8, 2013

Giving blood

This morning I went to my local blood bank, which is more correctly titled a ‘Blood Donor Center,’ to donate another pint of blood.  I have donated blood quite a few years.  I started going just once a year.  I didn’t like the idea of a big needle being jabbed into my arm.  I still don’t like it, but for quite a while I have gone six times a year, which is the maximum number of times a person can give blood.

The donor center I visit used to have different slogans as they tried to encourage more people to donate blood.  One of my favorites, the only one I still recall, was this:

Safe…simple…saves lives.

Which is really true.  I learned through experience that donating blood is safe and simple.  I still don’t like the needle being stuck in my arm, but that is the only hard part.  The whole donation process takes less than 15 minutes.  And then they have snacks while you hang out for another 15 minutes before heading off.  When it comes to donating blood, getting to the snacks is my favorite part. 

And donating one pint of blood saves about three lives.  Here is a link to that fact, and many other tidbits about blood and blood donation. 

I think that saving three lives just through one donation is something that could be regarded highly.  And I could take the number of times I’ve donated, multiply it by three, and pat myself on the back for all of the lives saved through my blood donation.  But that isn’t where I’m headed with this post. 

Donating blood in the way I did, i.e. “Safe…simple…saves lives” brings to mind one whose donation was a completely different matter. 

The Gospel accounts make crystal clear the fact that the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus was anything but safe or simple for Him.  This is something that He was aware of as it approached as He prayed in the garden, saying in Luke 22:42,

 “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

But saving lives?  That Jesus did, in ways that the mere giving of blood I did today does not, cannot, and should not ever compare.

Sure, lives may be saved through the blood I gave, but those lives are saved for but a moment.  The people receiving the blood I gave will die someday, and the giving of blood on my part, as meritorious as it could be made to sound, will not add one second to my life.

But the blood of Jesus, poured out for those who call on Him in faith, brings eternal life.  One passage, of several, that teaches this is in Revelation 7:13-14, where John writes,

“Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

Today I am thankful that Jesus has given blood, a donation that saves lives for eternity.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The photo is from the Mayo Blood Donor Center website.

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