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Promotions in the Hands of God

November 6, 2008

Needle of syringe with blood dropSometimes the positive consequences we attempt to bring to people’s lives through our promotions or services turn out to be merely side benefits.  Something better, deeper actually happens.

In 1998 I was a member of a wonderful church in Hendersonville, TN and I didn’t really want to be there–or in any church.  My marriage, financial situation, and 20-year preaching career were, like James Taylor’s sweet dreams and flying machines, busted up “in pieces on the ground” and church mostly reminded me of what I’d lost–not what I could have or be again.  I was a wreck.  It was all I could do to show up…and for months the idea of becoming “involved” again was both gross and scarey.  

Then one Sunday, they announced that the Red Cross Bloodmobile was going to set up at the church after services and would we please donate.  I remember thinking:  this is a good thing I can do, it’s relatively painless, it won’t cost me money I don’t have, I can set a good example for my children, and–best of all–I don’t have to be “involved.”  So I did.

They came back six weeks later, and I gave again.  

Collateral Transformation

And, strangely, I realized I was beginning to feel human again.  I can’t explain why or how it happened; I only know that it did.  I had dipped my toe (or elbow, more accurately) into the water of “involvement” and God was making something of it.  Slowly, the idea of attending a class or helping a ministry wasn’t quite so appalling.

My church did a promotion that would help heal anonymous people.  (Selling blood-donating shouldn’t be all that hard in a Christian church, if you think about it.)American Red Cross   And while they were at it, they unknowingly helped heal me, too.  Maybe the military would call that “collateral transformation.”

I credit a simple, little church blood drive for nudging me toward getting “out of myself” enough to move toward wholeness.  Today, I have a fabulous wife (I “married up”–ask anyone), more family including a grandchild, repaired finances, a good career of 11 years, and I LOVE going to my church and am happily, actively involved.  I even have a few friends.  And I still give blood.


Your promotion, your service, even your random act of kindness may not be all that magnificent, elegant, or sexy.  It may only be about shoes or parking meters or sending cigars to soldiers or handing a sandwich to a homeless person  You may only have a couple of fish and sack of pumpernickel.  Just remember the outcome isn’t always in your hands; your primary intention may only be an incidental consequence in the mind of God.


The Story Never Really Ends

Yesterday I got a call.  

Mr. Leach, this is Kathy at the Nashville Red Cross.  I want you to let you know a couple things.  One, I want you to know that because of your donations over the last 10 years, 63 people’s lives have been saved.  Two, you need to know that our holiday supplies of blood are already running low and we could use your help.

Today, as I laid on that medical lawn chair today looking out over a city I love and rolling a red, drop-shaped squeeze ball between my fingers, I remembered with gratitude that little church promotion 11 years ago and wondered what God might do with my pint-sized contribution this time. 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jerry permalink
    November 7, 2008 11:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing this important revelation.. seems to me that there is a second metaphor hidden here as well… umm will make for a good conversation over beer or better still a G&T

  2. alunatunes permalink
    November 22, 2008 4:28 pm

    Another great post. I don’t weigh enough to give blood (I’m not kidding) even though i am a grown up. Sometimes all we need is a little nudge….then the universe does the rest.
    I’m a fan of this blog!

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