A Doctor’s Vacation III
September 15, 2021
“…‘Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are…’” (Mark 12:14, NIV).
My wife dropped me off at Panera so I could catch up on my medical email while on vacation. She decided to fill our car with gas while waiting for me to finish. Noting a beggar on the roadside and committed to giving as Jesus had commanded, she handed him $20 through the window. He struck up a conversation and learned that we lived in Tennessee. He mentioned how much he wanted to visit Nashville if his circumstances changed. After receiving the money and talking of Tennessee, the beggar asked my wife if he could pray for her, and he did so.
Sometimes we think too little of the dignity of man.
Men and women whom we see every day are truly created in the image of God and carry His amazing dignity, regardless of their appearance or success.
We fool ourselves when we focus on the exterior, whether it be our patients, our church members, our friends or those in public life. We assume that certain achievements, certain appearances or accumulated accolades make some people more valuable than others.
The problem comes when we begin to treat people based on the exterior attributes we admire.
Not so with Jesus. It was obvious to those who knew Jesus that He valued people for who they were rather than how they appeared or what they could offer, as we see in Mark 12:14 above.
William Sloan Coffin shared this illustration in a commencement address at Willamette University:
“In 16th Century Paris, a beggar, desperately ill, was brought to the operating table of a group of doctors who said in Latin they were sure he would not understand, ‘Faciamus experimentum in anima vile.’ (‘Let us experiment on this vile fellow.’) The beggar was in fact an impoverished student, later to become a world-renowned scholar, Marc Antoine Muret. From the slab on which they had laid him out, he replied, ‘Animam vile pro qua Christas non cledignatus moriest?’ (‘Will you call vile one for whom Christ did not disdain to die?’)”
I need to learn from Dr. Coffin, and from Jesus, and from the beggar who prayed for my wife that the exterior is the least important attribute of persons. I suspect my wife’s poor beggar has likely impressed our God as much as any neurosurgeon, astronaut, actor or politician ever created—just as each of these heavily attributed souls, along with the beggar and me, impressed the King of Glory enough to die for all of us.
Let me know persons by their hearts, as You know them, and let me serve all hearts as You did.