Jim Becker, of Racine, Wisconsin, is one of the greatest Packers fans ever.
Ever since his father took him to his first Green Bay Packers game, when he was 11 years old, he’s been hooked—and that was almost 70 years ago.
As a young man, Jim entered the Army and fought in the Korean War. But even in combat, Jim followed the Packers from afar. After returning from Korea and finishing his enlistment in 1952, he married his high school sweetheart, Patricia, and soon began a family. The couple eventually raised 11 children.
Jim loved the Packers more than ever and followed their games throughout the 1950s, even during the so-called “Wilderness Years,” when the team seemed to almost disintegrate. But with such a huge family Jim could not afford tickets to the Packers games.
At the time tickets cost between $12–15, a sizeable chunk of his $50 per week salary. So Jim was hard pressed to find a way to attend any games of his favorite team.
Then a solution presented itself. Jim Becker learned that he could earn $15 for donating a pint of his blood to the local blood bank. Sound creepy or fanatical? Not to Jim, he gladly gave blood three to four times a month to buy tickets to watch the Green Bay Packers. And he continued to do so through the glorious Vince Lombardi years of the 1960s and through the 1970s.
Then, in 1975, while filling out a questionnaire about his family’s medical history, his employer learned that Jim’s father had died of a mysterious blood disease at the age of 42. Further inquiry determined that the blood disease, hemochromatosis, was actually genetic and had been passed on to Jim Becker from his father. Now, hemochromatosis had not tainted all the blood Jim had been donating. It only enriched it with high levels of iron. But for Jim hemochromatosis was deadly, because it would eventually poison vital organs—such as his liver. This alarmed doctors, since those afflicted with this disease rarely live past 45 years—the very age of Jim Becker!
Doctors explained to Jim that there was no cure to hemochromatosis. But they did prescribe a treatment plan that would be his only hope of escaping an early death. He needed to donate blood 3–4 times each month to reduce the level of iron in his body. This was something Jim Becker had already been doing for the previous 20-plus years!
When the doctors heard this they determined that Jim’s fanatical devotion to the Green Bay Packers had actually saved his life—and saved his wife and 11 children from bereavement. Now in his 80s, Jim Becker continues to give blood—but mostly as a treatment for his disease. And he continues in his undying devotion to the Packers. In fact, Jim Becker was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Fan Hall of Fame in 2010.
Think about Jim Becker’s extraordinary devotion to his football team and how it paid off in ways he could never have imagined. Isn’t the same principle true for those who make personal sacrifices out of devotion to Christ? Those, who for Christ’s sake, make life-altering decisions and career choices, and who abandon their plans for personal profit and reward, will certainly feel the pain of their sacrifice.
They may even have second thoughts about the “good things” they’ve surrendered for the cause of God’s kingdom. But that second guessing will be short-lived. For when we honestly reflect on days gone by, we will realize that it’s all been for the very best—both in this life and in the life to come.
When Jesus once spoke about the cost of discipleship, his disciples reminded Him, “Lord, we have left everything to follow You.” To this, Jesus assured them, “Yes, … and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come” (Luke 18:28–30, New Living Translation). So have no regrets over the things you’ve sacrificed to Christ’s sake. He will reward you in ways you could never have imagined.
Dear Father in heaven, I commit myself to You. Help me to never lose heart in doing good, knowing that my labor for the Lord is never in vain. Amen.
Information from Jim Becker Named 12th Member Of Packers Fan Hall Of Fame.
In article photo: Hospital corpsman, right, teaches another Sailor how to properly draw blood by the U.S. Navy licensed under U.S. Govt. Work