“I Sold My Kidney for an iPhone”

Broke Teen Who Sold Kidney for an iPhone Is Now Bedridden for Life

In an article published today at Fox, there is a report of a man, age 25, who has been hospitalized due to his last remaining kidney shutting down. The individual in this story felt that he, at the age of 17, was behind the latest technology trend and decided that since he did not have the money, that he would seek out illegal “organ harvesters” to remove his kidney. The man in this story received approx. $3,229.62 for the organ that he then used to purchase an iPhone 4 and iPad 2. Within eight years, the man’s remaining kidney shut down and he has now been hospitalized.

As silly as this story sounds, the theological implications of this event are real, and you and I have the same inclinations in us. Why would a person sacrifice their long-term health for a piece of technology that will soon be irrelevant? Sure, at one level this is a failure to steward that which God has entrusted the individual with, but it also reveals the way that humans approach life generally. We want satisfaction right now and will dismiss potential risks and future pleasures for the immediate.

How Are You Sabotaging Your Life?

You and I are probably not considering selling our organs for a quick buck, but we are making choices and taking actions for the pleasure that comes in a moment over a greater joy that is just beyond the horizon. Every day we make decisions to be less productive or to eat the wrong thing because being lazy or cheating on a diet seems more pleasurable than the prospect of satisfaction that would come from being in a better career or having a body that performs optimally. We realize that we would have a better life if we endured a moment of difficulty in pursuit of future satisfaction, but practically, most of us will choose the pleasure that comes in a moment. This same premise applies to our relationship with God.

Christians Know That They Are Not Confined to the Present

The Christian belief is that Jesus provides us with everything that we need and that our greatest satisfaction comes from Him despite our immediate circumstance (Phil 4:11-13). The young man in this story failed to see that without a kidney, his chances of kidney failure would increase dramatically. The man chose the pleasure that would come from owning a nice piece of technology over the pleasures that would come from living a healthy life. In our spiritual walk, we choose the immediate satisfaction that comes from sin over the long-term promises of Christ to be all that we need.

The reality is, our choice to sin and pursue temporary pleasure over the pleasures that come from following Jesus is more heinous and ridiculous then selling an organ because we are dealing with eternal matters! If we think about this situation logically, we know that following Jesus and refusing sin is the pathway to heaven, yet we make choices that will undoubtedly lead to hell (1 Cor 6:9). It should not surprise us that a person would sell an essential organ for material benefit when we daily make decisions that will affect our reality for an eternity. Thankfully we are saved by grace and not by works (Eph 2:8-9), but the fact that our relationships with Jesus are impacted nonetheless. Are you and I going to approach life through the lens of immediate pleasure or are we going to choose to follow Jesus every day, trusting that greater joy will come from Him?

Caleb Russell Jacobs (BS, Liberty University; MDiv, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the host of The Basic Bible Podcast and writes at www.webasicbible.org.

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