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One to One 35


one to one: Lessons about life, ministry, and grandkids!

by Keith Burden, Executive Secretary, National Association of Free Will Baptists


Roll Up Your Sleeve

On Tuesday, August 24, 2010, I achieved a personal milestone. On that day I donated blood for the 208th time. That amounts to exactly 26 gallons of blood or blood products. Who says you can’t get blood out of a turnip (or a Free Will Baptist preacher)?

Some people get queasy or squeamish when you talk about blood. A lot of people can’t stand the sight of it! And yet it’s a substance that every human being shares in common. It is essential to life. You can’t live without it.

I give Gary Curry credit for my becoming a blood donor. Gary is a regular blood donor himself and was a layman in a church I pastored. One day in the early 1990s he invited me to donate. I politely declined his offer. “I’m just not into donating blood” was my excuse. Actually, I was scared.

A few days later I watched a television documentary on, of all things, donating blood. I sat there in disbelief as the narrator explained that in one of our major cities, 60 percent of the blood used in their hospitals was imported from outside the U.S. because there wasn’t enough “safe blood” locally to service their medical facilities. That did it! Shortly thereafter I went to the local donor center, rolled up my sleeve, faced down my fear, and gave my first unit of blood.

According to the American Red Cross, the number one reason donors give blood is because they “want to help others.” Frankly, that has been my primary motivation over the past two decades. Knowing that I am doing something to help others—saving lives—is personally gratifying.

I am not specifically suggesting you should donate blood, volunteer at a rescue mission, deliver Meals on Wheels, or any other benevolent activity. However, I am challenging you to ask yourself, “What can I do to help others? How can I make a difference in someone’s life?”

Before answering those questions, make sure you understand that helping others usually involves a high level of commitment. Genuine commitment requires personal sacrifice, and almost always involves pain. I wish I could tell you that it doesn’t hurt to give blood, but I would not be telling the truth. It hurts when they prick my finger to check my iron level. It hurts when the phlebotomist puts the needle in my arm. It hurts when they remove the tape from my hairy arms after the procedure.

You may be wondering, “If it hurts, why do you keep going back?” I keep going back because people can’t live without blood. Therefore, if it takes some pain, I’m willing to endure it.
You don’t have to be creative to relate this to our Christian walk. Following Christ requires genuine commitment…the kind that will cost you in time, effort, and money. It will almost certainly involve pain. He never promised being a disciple would be painless.

There are scores of synthetic products on the market today, but there is no substitute for human blood. And so it is when it comes to meeting man’s basic spiritual need. The apostle Peter says the ONLY thing that can redeem a poor lost sinner is, “The precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

God help us all do our part to help others—to share this Good News. After all, Jesus was the ultimate blood donor


Keith Burden


About the Column: One to One is a regular feature of ONE Magazine. Written by Keith Burden, executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the column explores life, ministry...and grandkids!



©2010 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists