Last Sunday I wrote about the death of a special needs teenager who lost his life through a choking accident at dinner. He was sustained for several days while the family had tests run to see if Thomas was compatible to donate much needed organs to others. It turned out that many people were blessed by the generosity of Thomas and his family. The Honor Walk was last Sunday evening and the corridors were lined with doctors, nurses, family and friends as Thomas was wheeled from the intensive care unit to the operating room, followed by the transplant team, where the process of giving life to others would commence.
Yesterday morning, we received the list of organ donations that provided blessings to other. Among other things, Thomas donated his heart, both kidneys (to different recipients), a lung, skin, vertebrae and bone marrow. He also donated his corneas so others might have sight.
Our daughter, who attended the Honor Walk, said that while it was overwhelmingly sad, there were blessings in the midst of it all. And I can’t help but be reminded of Paul’s references to the body of Christ and how we each have different spiritual gifts that together strengthen the church.
In fact, we each have been endowed with a physical body and Thomas was able to improve and, in some cases, save the lives of people who he had never met. But…. just like Paul tells us in his many epistles, the body is strongest when all of its parts are working in unity.
That would not have been possible with the family of Thomas making the unselfish donation of so many organs that he no longer had any need for. We know from the Bible that we will get new bodies and to be absent from this life is to be present with the Lord. We also know that Thomas is now in the presence of God.
Our verse for tonight is from Paul’s letter to the Romans. He reminds his readers, including us, of what it means to be part of a body. Peter says similar things in his letters – reminding us that we are to be of the same mind when it comes to celebrating and mourning. We are to share and share alike as we are able, just as they did at Pentecost and the beginning of the Acts 2 church. Paul tells us, in Romans 12:4-5, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
My encouragement this evening is that each of us who believes has a responsibility to help others in the global body of Christ as much as we can. That helps to make each of us stronger than we would be without others who make sacrifices for us. My prayer is that we will take a moment to acknowledge the sacrifices that others have made for us, including, but not limited to, physical donations. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace… and to Thomas, thank you for the life that you lived…