Why I Gave Blood (And Will Do It Again)
As I walked into the room, I couldn’t quite figure out why I was nervous. I am not bothered by needles. Shots and pricks ceased being terrifying when I was about seven. And I knew I would be in good hands.
I think it was hearing stories of people passing out that made me leery of just “the unknown.” I’d never passed out before in my life.
Flashback to two weeks earlier and I was preparing to preach on the woman with the flow of blood in Mark 5. In doing a quick word study of the word “blood” in the Bible, my heart began to feel urged to give my own blood at the Red Cross blood drive.
In the Old Testament, blood is seemingly everywhere. Sin quickly escalates and results in the shedding of blood (Genesis 4). Blood is so important that when the life of another is taken, God requires an equal and proportionate punishment (Genesis 9:6): “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”
What is it about blood in particular that is so important? We get the answer in Leviticus 17:14: “For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life.” Our life is tied to, even in a sense “in,” our blood. This gives us a stark picture of how seriously God takes sin!
Blood is intrinsically tied to the forgiveness and atonement of our sin: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life” (Leviticus 17:11). “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22).
In light of all this, I began to ponder on the woman’s flow of blood. Yes it made her ceremonially unclean. But even more than that, in a deep sense, her ceaseless flow of blood was also a powerful and tangible reminder that her very life was pouring out of her, day after day, year after year. Her body was like a leaky bucket, with life itself pouring out of her.
And I began to ask, “Is there any indication how God feels about all this?”
Even back in the Old Testament, we get a bit of an answer: God “has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life and precious is their blood in his sight” (Psalm 72:13-14).
But of course God feels more than pity. He is compassionate. To the point that He will know what it is like to bleed himself. To have life flow out of him.
These were the thoughts that compelled me into the room where bags of blood were being filled and stored. These were the thoughts that propelled me onwards as I sat with a tube in my arm.
And yes, I did actually get a bit woozy and light-headed even though I was hydrated and I’d had a big lunch. But even then, I knew what I was doing was a dim shadow of God’s own love for me. His blood poured out to the point of death, giving life to the world.
Even with the episode I had, I can’t wait to give again and play a small part in bringing life to the world in Jesus’ name.
A Note from the Home Missions Team
The St Philip’s Home Missions Team sends out a big thank you to St. Philippians for your support in making our blood drive such an amazing success! Whether you donated blood or volunteered your time, we are so grateful for the fantastic response! We had a goal of 30 units, and we collected 46, which will help save the lives of up to 138 hospital patients in need! With 49 donors, 18 of whom were registered as first-time donors, this is our most successful drive yet! Our next St. Philip’s blood drive is Tuesday, September 21. We look forward to seeing you there!
“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”