Summary: Donating blood is a wonderful act of caring. It is “brotherly love” put in practice. But the greatest gift of blood ever made occurred on Calvary.
GIVING THE GIFT OF LIFE
And the LORD said, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11
Blood donation drives challenge us with the slogan “Give the Gift of Life!” The slogan is correct according to Scripture. As we think of the call to "give the gift of life" on the physical level, let us observe how our text impacts the spiritual life of every one of us.
Donating blood is a wonderful act of caring. It is an act of compassion. It is “brotherly love” put in practice. Not everyone can donate blood for a variety of reasons, but those who can give should give because the need is so great and is never-ending.
Before you attempt to donate, consult your family doctor for his recommendation as to if you should donate and the extent he would suggest.
I have selected twenty-five interesting facts regarding blood donation that can be viewed in full detail on the American Red Cross website.
1.) Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood
2.) More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day
3.) One out of every 10 people admitted in a hospital needs blood
4.) Total blood transfusions in a given year: 14 million (2001)
5.) The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints
6.) The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O
7.) The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs
8.) Sickle cell disease affects more than 80,000 people in the U.S., 98% of whom are African American. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives
9.) More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
10.) A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood.
11.) The number of blood donations collected in the U.S. in a year: 15 million (2001)
12.) The number of blood donors in the U.S. in a year: 8 million (2001)
13.) The number of patients who receive blood in the U.S. in a year: 4.9 million (2001)
14.) Approximately 60% of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood — only 5% do in a given year
15.) Blood cannot be manufactured — it can only come from generous donors
16.) Whole blood can be processed into red cells, platelets, plasma, and cryoprecipitate. The total number of units of all of these components transfused in a year is 29 million (2001)
17.) It is possible to donate specifically only platelets or plasma. This process is called apheresis
18.) Most donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection
19.) Donated platelets must be used within 5 days of collection — new donations are constantly needed
20.) Healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets. The body will replenish the elements given during a blood donation -some in a matter of hours, and others in a matter of weeks
21.) One donation can help save the lives of up to 3 people
22.) People with O- type blood are universal donors. Their blood can be given to people of all blood types. Only 7% of people in the U.S. have O- blood type.
23.) Type O- blood is often used in emergencies before the patient’s blood type is known, and with newborns who need blood.
24.) 45% of people in the U.S. have type O (+/-) blood. This percentage is higher among Hispanics — 57%, and among African Americans — 51%
25.) People with AB+ type blood are universal donors of plasma, the liquid portion of blood. AB+ plasma is often used in emergencies, for newborns and for patients requiring massive transfusions
Having considered the great importance of blood donation to assist in the health of our fellowman, let us move on to the greatest blood gift in the history of mankind, the blood of Christ shed on the cross for our sins. First, we need to consider the Source of all life.
GOD IS THE GIVER OF ALL LIFE
"God, who made the world and everything in it…for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ’For we are also His offspring.” Acts 17:24a; 28.
GOD HAS PLACED THE PRINCIPLE OF LIFE IN THE BLOOD
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood…” Leviticus 17:11