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As you practice your faith, the words “follow the Lord” are often heard and shared. The direction of the Lord does not have a yellow brick road. The words are meant to send you to prayer and develop your sense of discernment. As a dentist, dozens of people will ask you to follow them. These requests are loud and clear and often do have a yellow brick path. Some follow their golden paths before them. God blesses each of us with guidance, and for some it is easy to determine the guidance because many of us in the dental profession can use wise counsel and success to guide our steps. There are roles in every community for successful dentists. I respect the best in my community and love all my colleagues for their shared commitment to excellence. The dangers of greed and ethical challenges are to be lifted up to the Lord likewise to turn our steps to bless those around us. We are guided by the Lord’s work in our hearts, often to avoid missteps as often as we discover blessings.
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, KJV).
Like most of my writings, much of what I have to say is me preaching to myself. Recently I have been struck by several encounters with patients who were either very irritated or irritating. Either way, what should our response be? When someone is being demanding or has unrealistic requests and is upset when we cannot fulfill them? Or maybe they are just plain rude? What do we do?
“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10, NKJV).
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, ESV).
Why do you follow Jesus?
These are answers I hear a lot: The Bible says so. I grew up in a Christian home. I had an experience with God.
But we are told our lives will be more difficult. That does not sound good. There will be a reward, but not necessarily in this lifetime. Jesus is not always a “nice guy.” Do we want to believe what is pleasant and easy, or what is true? Even though I don’t like my phone bill, I know it is true.
Regardless of your practice setting, you encounter them also. Those uncertain of themselves yet confident in the need that has violated their entire body. That need for more, the need to fabricate pain just to get more.
“And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them” (John 17.10, NKJV)
Resurrection Sunday blesses the calendars of our lives uniquely this Sunday. It lifts up the life of our Lord as a model for so many transitions we face along the journey into which Christ has commissioned us. The passion of our Lord’s heart – poured out in His high priestly prayer of Gethsemane’s Garden – reveals how Jesus evaluated the preparations He made for the transition He would face.
In dental school, several of my instructors would mention their theory of why the suicide rate among dentists was so high, sometimes as a joke or some for serious reasons. One professor’s theory made the most sense to me: Work itself can become very redundant and most restorations eventually fail. You can feel like you’ve worked so hard to bring someone’s mouth into health and restore their smile, but if they don’t take care of their mouth, all of your hard work can fall apart. He also mentioned that if you’re in it for the money, that will fail you too. If all you’ve built your life on is your work and your things, then it’s going to be a big disappointment.
Let’s face it. Not everyone in the dental “industry” has a passion for oral healthcare. For some, dentistry is a moneymaking opportunity. Christian owners of businesses are sometimes overwhelmed, sometimes misunderstood and sometimes conflicted.
Not long ago, a patient walked in to my office and requested tooth whitening. After a brief exam, I found multiple abscessed teeth as well as loose restorative material that posed an aspiration risk. None of these findings seemed to concern him one bit.
Are class II composites getting old fast? Tired of searching for canals on that maxillary molar? Is dentistry becoming dull? This could be for several reasons, but one thing to consider is how much you are doing your daily work for the glory of God. Are you working for yourself, for others or for the Lord?