View the archives

Summer 2017

As Americans, we are blessed to live in the world’s wealthiest country. And, as health care professionals, many of us are highly compensated, especially compared to the average worker. In fact, since the time of Hippocrates, physicians have earned roughly six times the average wage. As physicians and dentists, we not only enter a calling where we . . . have immediate trust, but we also retain a high level of respect; thus we are rewarded for the discipline, effort and commitment we have made in pursuit of our calling. Physicians and dentists are held in high esteem, earn good money, and have status. But are these, necessarily, blessings? If rightly used, maybe—but often they can lead to our downfall as well. I am reminded of the quote attributed to Voltaire/Churchill/Roosevelt and even Spider-Man: “With great privilege comes great responsibility.” There is an expectation by society that, having been given great trust, esteem, and financial benefits—we will use them responsibly. None of us arrived at our chosen profession simply because of our own intelligence and efforts. Along the way we can all trace influences that helped shape us. A parent or mentoring physician, the faculty of Medical and Dental schools, many of whom served voluntarily to help impart information and knowledge as we matured. Even the patients who willingly or ignorantly allowed us to practice on them, even when we didn’t know much. Yes, we have been given much. Does this trust come with responsibility on our part? Certainly that is the expectation. Ellen White cautions us of the dangers of prosperity: “There is another danger to which the wealthy are especially exposed, and here is also a field for the medical missionary. Multitudes who are prosperous in the world, and who never stoop to the common forms of vice, are yet brought to destruction through the love of riches. The cup most difficult to carry is not the cup that is empty, but the cup that is full to the brim. It is this that needs to be most carefully balanced. Affliction and adversity bring disappointment and sorrow; but it is prosperity that is most dangerous to spiritual life . . . .Often prayer is solicited for those who are suffering from illness or adversity; but our prayers are most needed by the men entrusted with prosperity and influence . . . . In the valley of humiliation, where men feel their need and depend on God to guide their steps, there is comparative safety. But the men who stand, as it were, on a lofty pinnacle, and who, because of their position, are supposed to possess great wisdom—these are in greatest peril. Unless such men make God their dependence, they will surely fall.” - Ministry of Healing p. 211 & 212 (italics added for emphasis) As physicians and dentists, we often fall into this group. Men and women who stand on a lofty pinnacle in society, and who have been given great trust and financial blessings, are in danger. It is so easy to be distracted by the necessary things of our profession. The pressures of call, or meeting the needs of the underserved, all good and necessary things, can easily lead us to neglect our daily dependence upon God and, thus, lead us into complacency. If we allow that to happen, we will fall.   As Jesus Himself said: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. - Luke 12:48. NIV   It is, indeed, a blessing and a privilege to be in the healthcare profession, but let us see it as a calling and a ministry and, as such, realize that we need to be daily connected to the Great Physician. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”  CONTINUE READING EDITORIAL »