I have just read that a man called Rick Ruzzamenti donated one of his kidneys to a stranger. By doing this Rick made sure someone received the transplant he needed to live. It was a costly thing to do. It involved Rick having to undergo an operation. It means he will have to live the rest of his life with only one kidney. It was an extraordinary act of selflessness. But this is not why the story is so good. What happened next was the niece of the person who received the kidney was so impressed that she donated one of her kidneys to a stranger as well. Then this second stranger’s ex-boyfriend was so moved that he donated one of his kidneys to a third stranger. And this happened thirty times down a chain. A twenty-ninth stranger received a kidney, and his sister was inspired to donate one of her kidneys to a man called Donald Terry. Donald is hugely thankful to the women who gave him a kidney. He is also thankful to Rick who set off this cascade of generosity thirty transplants earlier.
An article written by Canon Peter Mullins for the Cleethorpes Chronicle during a recent Lent
It is the longest chain of donations like this which has been recorded in the USA. Most of the time when I give a present I know that in due course I will get a different present in return. When I give something away it is usually something I can afford to do without anyway. But deep down I know that costly giving without expecting anything in return can be what changes the world. Just imagine a society in which the mutual interchange of generosity was a way of life. There is a link with the Lord’s Prayer. In the language in which the New Testament was written we read Jesus telling us to pray ‘forgive us our debts as we forgive those indebted to us’. If I keep a careful record of exactly what each person owes me back, I am in a trap. When I give and receive with no expectation of return, I am free - which is how God wants it.