Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Eggs for Blood

Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again. Ecc 11:1

Matthew came to our hospital as sick as anyone I had seen in our Eku, Nigeria mission. He was wasted and febrile and severely anemic. We treated him with antimalarials and broad spectrum antibiotics, but I knew he would not make it without a blood transfusion. Blood was hard to come by unless you had a relative to give and Matthew had no one. Jackie Legg, a missionary nurse was happy to give one, but two were badly needed. Finally, a male nursing student offered to donate a unit, but only if we gave him a dozen eggs to renew his strength. The only eggs at that time on our compound were our family’s last dozen that we needed to feed our two small children, with no likely source of eggs for a long time. My wife, Becky, offered the eggs; Matthew got his blood and over a long recovery period in the hospital Matthew came to know Jesus as his Savoir. Wow.

One week after we had donated our eggs for Matthew, I was asked to speak at Pastor Ekhator’s church in Benin City. His wife, Catherine, had been my patient. I attended the service and was invited to his home for lunch after church. As I was getting into my car to drive back to Eku, Catherine held me up and said, “Wait. I have something for you.” She came from the house with a bag that she put on my front seat. I thanked her as I opened the bag and found two dozen eggs.

It doesn’t always work out this way---eggs for eggs, but God has a way of reimbursing us. I have a friend named John Tarpley, a surgeon at Vanderbilt, who spent many years in Nigeria. When I first heard him speak of his missionary experience, he said, “The rewards are great. I just get paid in a different currency.”

Very few of us work for God because He will pay us back double. We work for God because He loves us, and we Him. But most who have served Him in ways that demanded sacrifice have been satisfied and often pleasantly surprised by the payback. Sometime it is eggs for eggs. Sometimes it is something far greater, His presence in a way that had not been experienced before the sacrifice---a whisper, “Well done.” Sometimes the reward is immediate. Sometimes it is delayed for long months or years after the pain of the sacrifice has lingered and torn into the souls of those who had served. Sometimes it received only at God’s feet in heaven. But God has promised that the reward will be worth it. My wife, Becky, who gave her children’s eggs for blood, got twice the eggs in return; but far better than that for her will be the greeting that Matthew gives her when they both reach our Lord on the other side.

Dear Father,
We surely don’t deserve any reward, but thank You, thank You. Amen

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