“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:33 ESV)
Years ago, I spent some months watching one of the ladies in my congregation die. She was relatively young, in her early forties. She was dying because she had a bad heart. Doctors gave her a host of medications to keep her going, but all of those drugs were only temporary. She knew she would never be there for the weddings of some of her children. She would never hold a grandchild on her lap. She agonized about how much of a goodbye she should give to her husband. She had things to say, but she didn’t want to add to his worry. He was going to be alone. She was dying, and there was no cure.
Then, in a different state, a young man had an accident. After the man’s wife donated his organs, the woman from my church got a call: “Be at the hospital in an hour; we have a new heart for you.” The surgery worked. She came home from the hospital with color in her cheeks; she came home with a future. She could never forget that a young man had died so she might live. As a result, she would have done anything she could to say “thank you” to that man’s family.
Thousands of years before heart transplants were invented, the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel wrote, God says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey My rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be My people, and I will be your God” (Ezekiel 36:26-28).
Ezekiel was describing God’s plan to give dying humanity a spiritual heart transplant. To give us this new lease on life, God sent His Son as our divine donor. He carried our sins and died the death our transgressions deserved. His resurrection three days later is proof that His sacrifice has been completed and was successful. Now, like the psalmist, believers can confidently pray, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). Knowing God has given us a new spirit and a new heart, we are gladly grateful to the Savior who intentionally, willingly, has given His life so that all who believe might live forever with Him.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me a new lease on life. Open my heart and mind to Your will, so that I may act upon the opportunities You place before me today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Taken from the message, “Giving and Getting,” by Rev. Dr. Ken Klaus, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
Reprinted with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries
1. Do you know anyone who’s received a heart or organ transplant that saved their life? Did they view life differently afterward?
2. What do you think Jesus means to renounce everything to be His disciple?
3. How do you live today with the new life God has given you through Jesus?