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Still developing: Don’t wait until it’s too late

Sixteen years ago, there was something wrong. I was out of breath, exhausted and my heart beat was erratic. I just didn’t feel right.

I was examined by a primary care physician, an internist, a pulmonologist, an allergist and a cardiologist, to name a few. Each doctor suggested different diagnoses in an attempt to explain my general malaise—you are dehydrated, you have idiopathic atrial fibrillation, your allergies are getting worse, you have a viral infection and you have an unknown fungus in your lungs. All were sincere attempts to explain why I was feeling worse. There were x-rays, CT scans, blood tests, stress tests and allergy tests. I was poked and prodded by the best. The doctors said the standard, “You know, we are all getting older.” I was 42 at the time. “Drink more fluids, get rest and exercise regularly.”

Let me say that I had many wonderful doctors who were genuinely trying to diagnose what was wrong. But finally, I was in the oncologist’s office staring at an x-ray showing a mass the size of my fist that was pressing against my heart and crushing one of my lungs. We started treatments that week, and I preached that Sunday. I made it through half the sermon before my saliva glands went totally dry from the chemo treatment. During two different rounds of chemotherapy and an autologous stem cell transplant, I continued working for The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma and was speaking in churches all over the state. My co-workers and many other people all over Oklahoma faithfully prayed for me. When speaking in churches across the state, I would hear how the church members had prayed for me before they even met me.

During these extra 16 years God has given me, I raised three daughters, officiated at two of their weddings, and I held my granddaughter the day she was born. I thank God for those extra blessings. I have had the privilege to meet thousands of people over these 16 years and help them with their charitable plans.

God has given me the honor to introduce donors to many different donation opportunities in Baptist work all over Oklahoma and beyond our state’s borders. For these years I’ve been in remission, I’ve met people in coffee shops, restaurants, their homes, their churches, banks, in their cars and even on truck tailgates, to help them discover a way to use the resources God gave them to further the work of the Lord through charitable gifts.

Along the way, I heard an expression that has stayed with me. “Do your giving while you’re living, so you’re knowing where it’s going!” Trust me, don’t wait. You never know when the call may come that sends your life into a tailspin. Give now and see what amazing things God will do with your gift to His work.

Contact me for more information about gifting to one of the many opportunities at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) at 405/516-4868, mharkey@bgco.org, or toll free at 800/690-6933.

Marty Harkey

Author: Marty Harkey

Marty is the BGCO Chief Development Officer

View more articles by Marty Harkey.

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