by Ben Kinchlow
On my radio program, "Tell It Like It Is!" *, a recent guest discussed his heart transplant. Not a figurative or spiritual, but an actual physical transplant. It is a fascinating procedure that involves the programmed "death" of the recipient. When a new organ is located, it is "iced" and shipped by the fastest means possible. Upon notification of its arrival, the recipient is "prepped" to receive the new organ. Since it is a heart transplant, the recipient is advised of his impending "death".
All of us are aware that we will not get out of this world alive. Fortunately, our impending death is not a subject that is daily on our mind. We all live as though we are going to live forever, and if we are in our teens, we live as if we were both immortal and bulletproof. In a teenagers mind, nothing can kill him except rejection by his peers.
The conversation then turned to his preparations for death. While it is not death as most of us understand it, technically the individual "dies", and he is literally "kept alive" by a machine. The diseased heart is stopped and removed, and the new heart, not beating, is inserted and attached. When all the necessary connections are made, an electric shock is administered to the new heart, and if all is successful, the heart begins to beat, the pulse is restored, and life returns. For all practical purposes, during this period the patient is "dead". Prior to going into surgery, the patient faced this truth... "I may not wake up again outside of eternity."
As he waited and pondered, he realized all the things he had spent a lifetime accruing had no value. A quarter million dollar sports car, a beautiful designer home, a successful multi-million dollar business, a designer wardrobe, a beautiful wife and four children, were all, in his words, "irrelevant" at this stage. Did he love his wife and children? Of course. But that wasn't the question. This is the question all must answer in the pre-death stage - "Who Am I?"
We refer to ourselves as Mr., Mrs., Dr., or Reverend. We are called executives, plumbers, truck drivers, or factory workers. We are labeled feminists, republicans, democrats, or independents. But these are things we "do", not who we are. It is not "Rev. Smith" who will appear at death's door, nor is it "Governor Jones", or "Dr. Smith-Jones". It is the answer to the question..."Who am I?"... who will appear, sans all earthly titles, achievements, and honors.
The Lord Jesus paraphrased the question thusly... "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am"? And there were a variety of answers. He was called the prophet Elijah, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist, but Jesus was specific in his quest for identification. "Who do you say that I am?"
Peter had a revelation, acknowledged as such by the Lord Jesus himself. "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." My friend also had the answer to that question. He wasn't CEO, husband, father, successful entrepreneur, or sports car owner. He was simply a son of God, through his faith in Jesus Christ. He was ready for whatever happened in that operating room.
A final thought ... how would you answer ... "Who Am I?"
* For the full story, check local listings for "Tell It Like It Is!" at www.benkinchlow.com.