Heart Transplant (article written 10/98)

(Written October, 1998)

Joe stopped by my office about 4:00 p.m. one Monday afternoon.  I welcomed him in, for Joe is one of our long-term loyal employees.  After a few minutes of small talk he asked if he could close the door for privacy.  Then he appeared sober as he shared with me that he had a defective heart and only a few years to live.  After consultation with doctors he was told that a balloon surgery so common today and even a multiple by-pass operation would not remedy his condition.  It appeared that only a transplant would prolong his life.  His need was for both a donor and the financial resources.

As employer and friend I tried to encourage Joe.  I was unsure of what would be done medically, but would try to help him in every other area of his life to cope with this drastic change.  Educationally, I offered to send Joe to classes to help him in his current job and perhaps give cross training.  We talked about using the corporate gym and a different diet plan.  We discussed insurance and finances (including making a maximum contribution to the 401-K plan.)  He was encouraged to take full advantage of the company seminars, videos, and books that would help him to adjust his occupational opportunities and lifestyle.  The various job options in our firm (including production jobs with incentive pay, sales with commission opportunities, and management positions with bonuses based on profits) were each examined.  We even looked at his option of moving to one of our jobs in another state.  Would the climate prolong his life?  Finally, we discussed religion and the importance of being active in one of our local churches.  I committed to pray for Joe and asked that he keep me informed of the developments.

Over the next few weeks Joe’s physical condition seemed to remain stable, but his emotional health appeared to be deteriorating.  Finally, Joe asked if we could talk.  He shared that his physical problems were just the tip of an iceberg hiding numerous other problems that he was unable to handle.  Slowly he began to reveal his burdens of a stressed marriage, huge credit card debt, a rebellious teenager, and an inability to cope with new job pressures.  As Joe and I talked, I realized that I had done everything that I could as an employer.  We had tried to help educationally, financially, physically, and professionally.  I told Joe that our resources as an employer had been used, but I wanted to help him as a friend.  We made plans to meet at a local park on Saturday morning to just talk and get some fresh air.

That next Saturday as we walked through the park, I shared that sometimes, when all else fails us, we finally must look at life from a spiritual perspective.  I asked Joe, “If you were to die during surgery, would you go to heaven?”  Joe answered that he “hoped so”.  I then asked him, “If you appeared at heaven’s gate and were asked by God, ‘why should I let you into my heaven’, what would your response be?”  Joe replied that he had “tried to live a good life”.  I began to compare Joe’s responses to what the Bible shows us.

As we stopped and sat on a bench, I again quietly listened to the personal trials that Joe was going through.  His problems seemed so numerous and so serious.  Finally, I asked Joe if I could share with him, as a fellow businessman, answers that I found in my own life.  Joe eagerly listened as I explained.  The Bible tells us that all of us will have problems in life and that most of them are due to our own selfish desires.  The results of continuing in a life without God are normally: disappointment, defeat, doubt, disillusionment, despair, and eventually death.  However, as a fellow traveler, I have found someone who understands me, loves me regardless of my actions, is committed to me as a person, and has the power to change me as a father, a husband, a son, a friend, and even as an employer.  Jesus Christ is God’s Son and through His death, burial, and resurrection, He is God’s only way to eternity.  I basically offered Joe the option of continuing his own way or giving up his ‘rights’ to Christ.  I couldn’t offer Joe a physical heart or guaranteed results, but Jesus offered him a new spiritual heart and eternal life.

So that Saturday morning Joe made a decision to turn his life in a different direction.  After we returned to the car, Joe quietly prayed to God.  At that moment he received a transplant spiritually.  As a friend I had shared with Joe the greatest story and the most precious gift that I could ever give anyone.

You may know Joe.  He is not one person, but a composite of hundreds of real classmates, family members, friends, business associates, customers, competitors, suppliers, and employees that I have shared with during the last thirty-six years.  Like Joe, and like you and me, each person had been born with a defective spiritual heart.  Joe represents all the “Mary’s” and “John’s” with which I have had the opportunity to discuss life’s real issues over a lunch, a dinner, or just taking a walk.  Few of us will require heart surgery, and even fewer will require a transplant, but all of us need a spiritual transplant.  Either we will decide to have one, or we will face eternity with a “defective” heart.  I hope that Joe’s story will be an encouragement for all of us to deal with both our physical and spiritual heart issues while we are able!

Sharing Solutions,

“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh”. Ezekiel 11:19 (NIV)

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Youc must be born again.”  John 3:5, 7 (NIV)


About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

One Response to Heart Transplant (article written 10/98)

  1. Cathy Westm says:

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: