Monday, December 19, 2011

It's All About the Money

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!” (Isaiah 55:1, NIV 1984).

My daughter is a nurse in the local Intensive Care unit. She called me one night, hopping mad, “You won’t believe what this doctor told me!”

“Who was it?"

“I’m not going to tell you, but I called him to come see this patient who had arrested today and the family wanted to talk to him. He told me that he had already seen that patient once today and that the insurance wouldn’t reimburse him to come back again.”

“What did you say to him?”

“Nothing at first, but when he started griping about our healthcare system and reimbursement, I told him, ‘It’s not all about the money.’”

Gutsy nurse, my daughter, sort of like her mother.

I used to make a whole lot more money practicing medicine than I do now. I actually miss it—not the hours; I still work the hours—I miss the money. Having lots of money was cool: what I could do with it, the security it wrapped around me. Honest—I liked having money. As a Christian doctor, I used much of it for the good of others and for God’s work. That was cool too. It hurts to see it diminish.

My personal experience, and my understanding in observing my colleagues, is not that most doctors want a lot more money. My understanding about Christian doctors and money is two-fold:

  1. A little more is always welcome, and

  2. It is very difficult to fall back from where we have been, give up a financial level to which we have grown accustomed, lose a level of security with which we have been comfortable---and this is what is happening to most doctors these days. Many doctors feel strained and anxious as they watch the loss. This is natural; this is me; but it is not necessarily Christian.

I learned the beauty of reducing my finances and losing my security when I served on the mission field. On the mission field, time and time again, we found ourselves caught up in circumstances in which our security and resources were absolutely inadequate to overcome the challenges. And, time and time again, God came through----and when we were swept up in His deliverance, our faith grew enormously. I reached the point in Nigeria where I could face a dangerous impossibility and smile, watching for my Lord to arrive. I now am forced to relearn this in America, as my practice income is reducing---and it is really good for me.

God wants our love, our trust and our obedience. We hardly know what trust is as long as we can depend on ourselves. Obedience is cheap when it only costs us our extras. Love is shallow until we fall desperately into His arms and watch the Lord of the universe work out His love for us.

We as Christian doctors with our involuntary income reductions are now being blessed by the opportunity to become dependent again. It hurts, but there is glory in the pain if with it we learn again to turn from self-sufficiency to God-dependency.

Dear God,
Thank you for driving us into Your arms by freeing us from our securities.

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