Givers or Takers

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

People who give are the people who benefit the most in life.  While our dominant attitude appears to be that we need to get what we can get, the key to real life is to give in order to live.

Marie Bell is a kindergarten teacher in Dallas, Texas.  She gives a lot as an educator, but she recently gave a more precious gift.  One day one of her young students, Sean, was late for school.  Upon inquiring she learned that his father had to be rushed to the hospital for a kidney transplant that later had to be abandoned.  Sean was extremely upset.  His father, Marshall Smith was terribly disappointed.

Marie decided to offer one of her kidneys to Marshall, which she did.  In an interview she said, “I wanted Marshall to have a second chance and to see his little boy grow up.”  Marshall’s response was “I didn’t think that God made people like her anymore.”

Does God make people like her anymore?  I have a wonderful friend named Christi Millo who goes to Frazer.  In her Sunday School class one day she learned that one of the fellow members had to have a kidney transplant, but no match could be found.  It was a life or death matter for the class member.

Christi talked with her husband and got his permission to be evaluated to see if she might be a potential donor.  She was.  She gave her kidney to save the life of a fellow Sunday School class member.

Talk about the importance of Sunday School – that is really where people care for each other.  I am glad God is still making people like Christi and Marie.

I love Marines.  I had a chance to visit for a week at an educators’ workshop at Paris Island.  Marines are a special breed of people.

Recently a young Marine Sgt. Jacob Chadwick was diagnosed with kidney failure.  A fellow Marine, 2nd Lt. Patrick Wayland, 24, died in a tragic accident.  Patrick’s parents decided his kidney should go to another Marine.  A Navy doctor quickly found Chadwick by entering “marine need a kidney” on Google.  The death of one Marine saved the life of another.  That really gives new meaning to a phrase the Marines use “I’ve got your back.”  It speaks profoundly about the bond that Marines have for each other.

Most of us may never have the occasion or the opportunity to give an organ.  I hope each of us has signed up for the Organ Donor Bank.  I have.  But there are numerous other ways that we can give.

This is the season of the year when United Way gives us an opportunity to give.  We can help with a financial contribution to bring relief to many people in our area.  While most of us don’t have the talents to meet the needs of hurting people in our area, our financial gift can put people in their path who are trained to help them professionally.

I attended the March of Dimes Citizen of the Year celebration recently.  We were told that nine years ago Chappy’s Restaurant was invited to cater a “breakfast for babies.”  They agreed to do it, then donated all of the food and service.  It raised a lot of money.

Jeff Baranco is the son of one of the owners of Chappy’s.  He and his wife Dawn had a premature baby six years ago.  Special medical technology and equipment were available as the result of much of the money that had been raised by breakfast for babies.  A special mattress, referred to as a “giraffe mattress,” was used by Jeff’s daughter.  Because of the advanced medical equipment, that young baby, Peyton is 6-years- old and doing well today!

Giving always comes back. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give.”

Life could be divided into two teams – givers or takers. Which team are we on?

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