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Greater Love

Greater Love

SEPTEMBER 14, 2020    |    2.5 MINUTE READ

When we think of a global worker, we often think of someone working overseas in a remote village with little to no resources. But every few years, a global workers return to their country of origin to build their ministry team. During that time, ministry doesn’t stop. The work of spreading Christ’s love is ongoing, as we can see in the story global worker Val Sleeth shares below.

It has been said there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend. Last week I met a man who did it for a stranger.

Mr. Kerns’* pancreas had been failing since he was eleven. His kidneys started failing ten years later and gave out when he was thirty.

Kidneys are not easily replaced by a machine. It’s not easy to spend four hours, three days a week sitting in a chair while each of your five liters of blood is removed from your body, filtered, and pumped back in. Your body lets you know it. Fatigue, swelling, itching, and bone pain are just a few of the ill effects of dialysis.

And even then, it’s just a band-aid. The average life expectancy for a person on dialysis is five years.

So, when he got the call for a potential kidney, Mr. Kerns didn’t hesitate. He and his wife traveled the seventy miles to our hospital in the back of a state trooper’s car, sirens blaring. They made it in twenty-seven minutes.

Mr. Kerns was placed in a room with initial blood work drawn. He and his wife held hands and grinned nervously at the haphazard choreography of nurses, doctors, and clerks parading before them.

Weight, blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and oxygen saturations were measured in quick succession. A pen was pushed into Mr. Kerns’ hand as consents for surgery and blood transfusion passed by.

The quicker we could get Mr. Kerns to the operating room, the greater his chance for a successful transplant.

When the docs came in a second time to draw more blood, his wife asked, “You need more?”

“Yeah, there’s another guy here who needs the kidney. And you’re both a match. We need to run some more tests to see who is the better match.”

Fifteen minutes later the team was back, syringe in hand. “We need a little more.”

That’s when he did it. Mr. Kerns said, “He can have it.”

His wife’s face turned ashen. “How could you—”

“Hon, I know where I’m headed. That guy….who knows? I don’t need more time.”

Our lives as Christians are expendable. We know where we’re going.

Mr. Kerns showed me a life truly laid down for another.

Maybe God won’t ask you to do this as literally as He did Mr. Kerns.

Maybe for us, the ask will be waking up early to pray. Or leaving laundry unfolded to sit with a neighbor who has just lost their grandmother. Or, for me, uprooting my family to work at a hospital in rural Kenya.

What is God calling you to sacrifice? May we offer it back to Him and say, “He can have it.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25–26 (ESV)

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (ESV)

*To respect the privacy of Mr. Kerns and his family, we have changed his name for this blog.


PRAY: What is God asking of you? Pray that He will show you tangible ways you can serve Him and those He is calling you to.

GO: Does the act of love that God is asking of you include a physical move to a new location? Is He stirring your heart for a particular country or people group? We’d love to help you get where He wants you to be. Connect with us here.

Author Bio: Val Sleeth and her husband, Clark, are starting their second term serving at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya. At the hospital, they enjoy every opportunity to pray with patients and their families, to challenge people in their faith, to train African physicians, and to share the Gospel.

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