If anyone would come after me, let him… Mk 8:34.
Academic medicine is rewarding, but has its stresses, just like any job. For me, the stress comes in completing and publishing research trials so that I can be recognized as a legitimate academician. Certainly, I’m here for God’s purpose; but I’ve got to make a name for myself, so He can be glorified. I felt the same way about my grades during my student years and about my referral reputation and success in providing for my family during my years of private practice. I want to do it all for God, but sometimes my desire to accomplish, succeed and be known wraps itself around me and it becomes the focus of my days.
Have you ever needed to stop and ask yourself what you are working for, or for whom are you working? Sometimes we get so confused about why we are working that it changes the way we work. If we decide that our primary purpose in working is to make money for our families, we will work in one way. If we decide that our work is important to fulfill a desire to be needed, that will direct the way we work. If we work primarily to gain respect or reputation, we will focus our work accordingly. In Colossians, Paul tells us that we should work primarily to glorify God’s name and to please Him with our efforts. Most of us keep this truth in the back of our minds and then focus on certain work goals as a means to that end. If I can make enough money, build a great reputation, to help enough people, then that will legitimize God and bring glory to His name. The problem comes when the means wraps itself around us and becomes an end in itself. This happens with me all the time.
For me to get this right, it takes regular surrender. Every morning I have to un-clutch the parts of my life that I clutched for myself the day before. Whether it is research, or time or money or fame or family…at the end of my morning of prayer each day I surrender back to the Lord those things I took for myself the day before. I still frequently find my arms gripping tightly the stuff I should have handed over, but far less than if I had not purposely, regularly offered it to my King.
All I am, all I have, all my dreams, all my plans, all those I love. Take them and let me not steal them back this day.