Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6


Chapter 29—Responsibilities of Medical Workers

The fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians contains lessons given us by God. In this chapter one speaks under the inspiration of God, one to whom in holy vision God had given instruction. He describes the distribution of God's gifts to His workers, saying: “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13. Here we are shown that God gives to every man his work, and in doing this work man is fulfilling his part of God's great plan. 6T 243.1

This lesson should be carefully considered by our physicians and medical missionaries. God established His instrumentalities among a people who recognize the laws of the divine government. The sick are to be healed through the combined effort of the human and the divine. Every gift, every power, that Christ promised His disciples He bestows upon those who will serve Him faithfully. And He who gives mental capabilities, and who entrusts talents to the men and women who are His by creation and redemption, expects that these talents and capabilities will be increased by use. Every talent must be employed in blessing others and thus bringing honor to God. But physicians have been led to suppose that their capabilities were their individual property. The powers given them for God's work they have used in branching out into lines of work to which God has not appointed them. 6T 243.2

Satan works every moment to find an opportunity for stealing in. He tells the physician that his talents are too valuable to be bound up among Seventh-day Adventists, that if he were free he could do a very large work. The physician is tempted to feel that he has methods which he can carry independent of the people for whom God has wrought that He might place them above every other people on the face of the earth. But let not the physician feel that his influence would increase if he should separate himself from this work. Should he attempt to carry out his plans he would not meet with success. 6T 243.3

Selfishness introduced in any degree into ministerial or medical work is an infraction of the law of God. When men glory in their capabilities and cause the praise of men to flow to finite beings, they dishonor God, and He will remove that in which they glory. The physicians connected with our sanitariums and medical missionary work have by God's providence been bound to this people, whom He has commanded to be a light in the world. Their work is to give all that the Lord has given them—to give, not as one influence among many, but as the influence through God to make effective the truth for this time. 6T 244.1

God has committed to us a special work, a work that no other people can do. He has promised us the aid of His Holy Spirit. The heavenly current is flowing earthward for the accomplishment of the very work appointed us. Let not this heavenly current be turned aside by our deviations from the straightforward path marked out by Christ. 6T 244.2

Physicians are not to suppose that they can compass the world by their plans and efforts. God has not set them to embrace so much with their own labors merely. The man who invests his powers in many lines of work cannot take in hand the management of a health institution and do it justice. 6T 244.3

If the Lord's workers take up lines of labor which crowd out that which should be done by them in communicating light to the world, God does not receive through their labors the glory that should accrue to His holy name. When God calls a man to do a certain work in His cause, He does not also lay upon him burdens that other men can and should bear. These may be essential, but according to His own wisdom God apportions to every man his work. He does not want the minds of His responsible men strained to the utmost point of endurance by taking up many lines of labor. If the worker does not take up his appointed task, that which the Lord sees is the very thing he is fitted to do, he is neglecting duties which, if properly executed, would result in the promulgation of the truth and would prepare men for the great crisis before us. 6T 245.1

God cannot give in greatest measure either physical or mental power to those who gather to themselves burdens which He has not appointed. When men take upon themselves such responsibilities, however good the work maybe, their physical strength is overtaxed, and their minds become confused, and they cannot attain the highest success. 6T 245.2

Physicians in our institutions should not engage in numerous enterprises and thus allow their work to flag when it should stand upon right principles and exert a worldwide influence. God has not set His colaborers to embrace so many things, to make such large plans, that they fail in their allotted place of accomplishing the great good He expects them to do in diffusing light to the world, in drawing men and women as He is leading by His supreme wisdom. 6T 245.3

The enemy has determined to counterwork the designs of God to benefit humanity in revealing to them what constitutes true medical missionary work. So many interests have been brought in that the workers cannot do all things according to the pattern shown in the mount. I have been instructed that the work appointed to the physicians in our institutions is enough for them to do, and what the Lord requires of them is to link up closely with the gospel missionaries and do their work with faithfulness. He has not asked our physicians to embrace so large and varied a work as some have undertaken. He has not made it the special work of our physicians to labor for those in the dens of iniquity in our large cities. The Lord does not require impossibilities of His servants. The work which He gave to our physicians was to symbolize to the world the ministry of the gospel in medical missionary work. 6T 245.4

The Lord does not lay upon His people all the burden of laboring for a class so hardened by sin that many of them will neither be benefited themselves nor benefit others. If there are men who can take up the work for the most degraded, if God lays upon them a burden to labor for the masses in various ways, let these go forth and gather from the world the means required for doing this work. Let them not depend on the means which God intends shall sustain the work of the third angel's message. 6T 246.1

Our sanitariums need the power of brain and heart of which they are being robbed by another line of work. Everything that Satan can do he will do to multiply the responsibilities of our physicians, for he knows that this means weakness instead of strength to the institutions with which they are connected. 6T 246.2

Great consideration must be exercised in the work that we undertake. We are not to assume large burdens in the care of infant children. This work is being done by others. We have a special work in caring for and educating the children more advanced in years. Let families who can do so adopt the little ones, and they will receive a blessing in so doing. But there is a higher and more special work to engage the attention of our physicians in educating those who have grown up with deformed characters. The principles of health reform must be brought before parents. They must be converted, that they may act as missionaries in their own homes. This work our physicians have done, and can still do, if they will not sacrifice themselves by carrying so many and varied responsibilities. 6T 246.3

The head physician in any institution holds a difficult position, and he should keep himself free from minor responsibilities; for these will give him no time for rest. He should have sufficient trustworthy help, for he has trying work to perform. He must bow in prayer with the suffering ones and lead his patients to the Great Physician. If as a humble suppliant he seeks God for wisdom to deal with each case, his strength and influence will be greatly increased. 6T 247.1

Of himself, what can man accomplish in the great work set forth by the infinite God? Christ says: “Without Me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5. He came to our world to show men how to do the work given them by God, and He says to us: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. Why is Christ's yoke easy and His burden light? Because He bore the weight of it upon the cross of Calvary. 6T 247.2

Personal religion is essential for every physician if he is to be successful in caring for the sick. He needs a power greater than his own intuition and skill. God desires physicians to link up with Him and know that every soul is precious in His sight. He who depends upon God, realizing that He alone who made man knows how to direct, will not fail in his appointed work as a healer of bodily infirmities or as a physician of the souls for whom Christ died. 6T 247.3

One who bears the heavy responsibilities of the physician needs the prayers of the gospel minister, and he should be linked, soul, mind, and body, with the truth of God. Then he can speak a word in season to the afflicted. He can watch for souls as one who must give an account. He can present Christ as the way, the truth, and the life. The Scriptures come clearly to his mind, and he speaks as one who knows the value of the souls with whom he is dealing. 6T 248.1