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A Whole New Level of Personal Giving
David Leung, church planter at Lighthouse Church of Newcastle, Ontario, discovers first hand that "generosity without cost is not generous."

Two years ago David Leung visited his friend Jason MacPherson in the hospital. Jason's kidneys had failed. Looking at his friend, David felt the Lord asking him to offer one of his kidneys. David readily admits, "I didn't trust God the way I told him I did. I didn't trust him with my life or with my children." David worried about the consequences to his family if he died or became seriously ill after donating a kidney. So he ignored what he now calls, "God's opportunity to give sacrificially."

David and Laurie Leung with their three children.

Four potential kidney donors came forward but after tests this spring, none of them proved compatible. The situation looked grave for Jason. David again felt the Lord asking him to offer one of his kidneys to his friend. David and his wife Laurie were starting a church plant in Newcastle, Ontario and David was preaching about the meaning of faith. James 2:15-17 says "If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, `Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." This challenged him to do more than just pray for Jason. Rather quickly, God revealed to David and Laurie that donating a kidney was a way for them to get to know Him better. David submitted to the testing and in August 2008 he found out that he was a suitable donor.

The surgery took place September 11. At the hospital, when David saw Jason beside his twin brother, he was shocked at how sick Jason looked in comparison. Indeed, the transplant carne none too soon. With many in his community praying, the operations were successful and Jason began to recover. But due to complications, David's recovery took more than twice the expected time.

It was a horrible experience, physically and emotionally, for David and his family. David had to remind himself why he had donated a kidney. As he thought of "God's generosity, His loving extravagance," he realized that "generosity without cost is not generous." Through his suffering David's understanding of God's love deepened. Before donating a kidney David "approached God with caution and moderation." After this experience, he had a change of heart. "When the Bible speaks of love it isn't a casual feeling. Loving God `with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind' (Matthew 22:37) is an obsession. It is a scary thing to engage with God the way He invites us to. But if we do trust Him, God comes through every time."

In the end God restored David's health, provided for his family financially, and for their congregation. Best of all, David's trust in God has blossomed— "before I didn't trust Him with my health or my children, now I trust Him more than I trust myself with my children." In giving life, and accepting the risks involved in trusting God, David and his family have received life "more abundantly" in their deeper awareness of God's powerful and extravagant love.

Who can measure the impact David's gift of life will have on his community? Already he has shared what God has done with those who have asked him. Like St. Francis of Assisi, David preaches "the gospel always, using words if necessary."

David Leung is in the process of planting Lighthouse Church of Newcastle. They have started preliminary gatherings in a local community centre.

Nikki Everts-Hammond has recently launched Scripted Images, a small business that provides writing services for newsletters, graphic designers and more.  She digs deep to discover the kernels of meaning in the stories of those she interviews, capturing them in her writing for the inspiration of others.  Contact her by email: nikki@scripted-images.com.

Originally published in Thinking Ahead, Vision Ministries Canada, Christmas 2008.

 

 
 
 
 

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