Yesterday I shared the first two, of four ministry lessons I learned by giving blood. They were, 1) Know your people, and 2) Give yourself away. Here are the last two:
Focus on the positive.
When you give blood, the first part of the nightmare process is when they stick that little needle in your finger to check your blood. I hate that. Brushing my teeth is more painful, but I still recoil when they take out that 2 millimeter needle and prepare to stick. I just never look. I look away.
Then, when they actually put the real needle in your arm, after torturously wiping your anti-elbow with a cold towelette for the obligatory thirty seconds, I never look then either. That’s the rule, don’t look. Focus on the other side of the room, and think about puppy dogs and kitty cats, but never, never watch them stab you with “the needle”. You know, the one that is a minimum of two feet long!
In ministry, when the bad stuff happens. Don’t look. Turn away. Focus on Jesus. Think good thoughts. I mean, learn from your mistakes and all, but don’t focus on the negative. When giving blood, as much as I may want to let out a blood curdling scream (no pun intended), I always think about the person who will receive the blood.
One time when I gave, they told me that they had someone right then who was going to get my blood. They said they would be driving it off to the hospital and someone who had my exact “antigen” type needed it badly, whatever that meant. That made me so happy.
So when the tough ministry times come, don’t focus on them. Serve with joy. Relish the love of God for you and freely give it. Focus on the positive.
Go the extra mile.
A couple years ago I went to give blood, and the first blood person asked me, “do you want to give a double?” No kidding, she really did! I cringed as I asked if that meant two pints. I did not think you were allowed to give away that much. She said “No, I mean double reds, double red blood cells.”
She explained that they take a pint out of you, spin it through a disgronificator (maybe that wasn’t the name), and separate out all your red blood cells, then give the rest of what’s left over back to you, along with a little yum yum solution (maybe that wasn’t the name either) to fill your veins. They do that twice, thus the “double reds”. What they end up with is a clear plastic bag filled with very, very red blood. It takes a little more than twice as long as giving the usual pint of blood.
Two days ago I gave “double reds”. I was in and out in an hour. I went the extra mile. Someone is likely happier today, enjoying a little more energy, with all my ironman red blood cells. That again, makes me so happy.
I realized that some weeks go by where I only give my expected pint, my “pound of blood”. But the weeks that make me so happy are the ones where I go the extra mile and give double. It is not that much harder, just a little. It does not require that much more effort, just a little. It does not take that much more time, just a little. It does make a difference in someone’s life, actually a very big difference!
So, go the extra mile in your ministry this weekend. It might mean one more person to encourage, one more hand to hold, one more call to make, one more encouraging email to send, one more affirmation to share, one more confrontation to engage in, or just one more conversation to have – but, go the extra mile. You’ll be so happy you did!
Two days ago, I gave blood. Double, actually…
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