August 9

1 Chronicles 11-14, Psalm 67

When I joined my group, I was the third physician of a relatively small practice which did a little over 200 deliveries per year. 26 years later we have 7 physicians and close to 50 employees and now deliver around 800 babies/year. Medicine has gone through many transitions and private practice is largely being replaced by a business model in which hospitals and investment companies buy out existing practices for profit, then completely transform the way the practice runs changing it from one of care and compassion to one of dollars and cents. This model cares little for the physicians or the employees often discarding both in the process if they don't fit their model of revenue generation and quick turnover of patients. Through the years God has blessed our practice. Our employees are considered family. We have had employees who have struggled with alcohol and drug abuse, even in the work environment. Rather than firing them, we held their positions while they sought out help, and many have come back sober with their lives being restored. Not all the physicians share my Christian views. Yet approximately 7 years ago at a partners meeting, though elective abortion was a minor part of our practice (I have personally never participated in one), I prayed before the partners meeting and told my partners that I pray for our group daily, but didn't know how God could continue to bless our group when our group was doing something that God could not possibly bless. Much to my surprise, without much debate, the other members of my group agreed to completely stop this practice. Over the years I have viewed my practice as a ministry. Most of my employees have received the gospel message from me personally, along with a number of my patients daily. I am forever thankful to my God for allowing me the opportunity to both own and shepherd those in my practice.

We read in 1 Chronicles 11:1-2, "Then all Israel came together to David at Hebron, saying, "Indeed we are your bone and your flesh. Also, in time past, even when Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the Lord your God said to you, 'You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over My people Israel'." We read in 11:9, "So David went on and became great, and the Lord of hosts was with him." A little later in 14:2, we read, "So David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, for his kingdom was highly exalted for the sake of His people Israel." King David was blessed as king because he ruled and served as the nation's shepherd. Many years later a different David, David Green, with a shepherd's heart, founded a company called Hobby Lobby. He turned his one store into a billion dollar/year business. He uses his position to place the Gospel message in ads in newspapers nationwide every Christmas and Easter. He created a work environment that glorifies God, and having a servant's heart puts others ahead of himself. Despite urgings to turn his company public, he has kept it private so that he can use the company's profits to glorify God. While the rest of the business world in 2009 froze and cut labor expenses, he raised the wages of his employees. Like S. Truett Cathy, owner of Chik-Fil-A, he also keeps his stores closed on Sunday unlike the rest of the world.

The world screams you must look out for "Number One". The world's business model centers around greed and pride. After Peter denied His Savior three times before the crucifixion, Jesus restores Peter and prepares him to lead the movement in John 21:15-17, to "Feed My sheep." At the end of his life, Peter turned around to the next generation of believers and told them in 1 Peter 5:2, "Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers,...". Paul encourages the people in Philippians 2:3-4, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Some of us may own companies. Some may be part of a company and be in a position of leadership over other employees. Some are employees, not in a position of leadership. Many of us are spouses and parents. Each scenario requires us to adopt a position and a philosophy. We can either seek to look out for ourselves and look to be served by those around us. Or we can all make a conscious decision to adopt a shepherd's heart and serve those who God has placed around us. The decision is ours, Scripture clearly reveals which position He desires from us. In so doing, we get to give Him the glory as He so richly deserves.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster