November 29

Titus 1-3, Psalm 23

I finished residency in 1992 and joined two other physicians in private practice. It was around this same time that the field of medicine began undergoing drastic changes. The insurance market which was primarily fee for service overnight became largely HMO driven. This transition underwent another drastic series of changes under Obamacare. Besides the financial aspect, the bureaucracy of medicine also changed drastically. In 1992 the concept of evidence based medicine took root. Initially beginning as a method of forcing older physicians to remain current (which is good), the concept included three things: the most recent best data, the wisdom of the physician after years of practice, and individualizing care tailored to each patient's individual predicaments and desires. Over the years, this program has morphed into a guideline/protocol approach with little regard to the individual patient or physician. The "best evidence" is also often times biased by those few who are now in charge. This bureaucracy and worsening financial picture has forced many physicians to give up their private practice and join a larger network of physicians in a salaried position. These changes have also shown in the attitude of many physicians. The younger ones tend to be more lemmings or followers than leaders, the older ones tend to be disgruntled and angry. Whether we like the changes in our field or not, becoming disgruntled and bitter is never God's way. None of my children chose to become physicians, but I would advise anyone to still do so. Most older physicians bitterly persuade their children to avoid medicine. The problem comes because rather than seeing ourselves as we should: servants, messengers, ambassadors, vessels; most physicians saw medicine as a job. Rather than a calling, it was a way to earn money and be in a position of respect. The problem is attitude and the heart.

Paul instructs us in Titus 2:2-3, "that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things,". So many older individuals become bitter and angry over what life has dealt them. But we should be passing on good things to the next generation, giving them an enthusiasm and optimism about what God will do in the future and what He can do in their lives. To be able to influence the next generation we need to heed the advice he gives in Titus 2:8, that we should be people of "sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you." When the leaders of the Medes and Persians tried to frame Daniel, we read in Daniel 6:4, "So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him." How do we avoid bitterness in our changing world and try to remain above board in our behavior, Paul explains in Titus 1:15-16, "To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work." We all make a decision daily what we will focus on and what our attitude will be. Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things."

The field of medicine has changed, but so has the field of education, law enforcement, etc. We can all convince ourselves that life is not fair and complain about our individual problems at work or in the home. But the question really surrounds how we see ourselves. God has given each of us a family, a job, co-workers, friends, etc to influence. Do we see ourselves as servants, messengers, vessels to be used by God in a world which is filled with a series of endless opportunities to minister to others. Or do we trudge through life disgruntled about our families, jobs, and finances. Do we look at work as getting by, making a living and putting in our time, or as our ministry. In the book of Numbers, we see the nation of Israel going through the desert being provided by supernaturally by God, yet disgruntled and complaining continuously. This did not work out well for them. When we complain we are actually complaining to and against God. Today is a new day, let us all open our eyes to all of the pure opportunities that God has provided us.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster