What does it mean to be light (Mt 5:14-16)? Undoubtedly there are many facets to this question, but Jesus does make clear that light is something that is seen and noticeable. It illuminates a house as a lamp put on a stand. Naturally as I considered Jesus’ words, I asked myself – am I shining?
There are many ways to be light in the medical setting. We can work well and glorify God (Col 3:23). We can influence our workplace with godly conduct and care for those who are sick. The list continues. But there is one aspect of light that I had previously given little thought before I hit the hospitals. Jesus addresses his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1-2). He says that they are the light of the world. In thinking about how to be bright, I overlooked that somewhere in the workplace there could already be light! And certainly several lights together shine brighter than any light alone.
When I began clerkship, I had my radar on. After a brief comment from one of my preceptors about a mission trip, I was prompted to ask. Turns out he is a Christian, and we shared some wonderful conversation afterwards. I gave him a copy of FOCUS and a book on worldviews. Over our continued time together, we also had the chance to sit down with a patient’s Christian mother and discuss the importance of her daughter’s spiritual health in her physical health. This physician encouraged me.
Over the following month and a half I encountered two more Christian physicians, both of whom I learned of by inquiring. Helpful words were exchanged. I also asked one of my preceptors that I learned did not perform abortions if he was Christian. He is not, but that conversation has prompted a yet-to-be-scheduled dinner over which we can talk about religion.
These are simply to point out that paying attention to where light shines is helpful. Often with the busyness I get caught up in the medicine and lose perspective. But I was surprised to learn that there are more brothers and sisters out there than I suspected, and forming relationships with them has been instrumental in helping me remember what I am doing in Christ. Especially in a time when faith is being pushed out of the public square, it is important to encourage one another. We were never intended to walk our lives of faith alone but to stir one another up to love and good works (Hb 10:24-25). And not surprisingly, other Christian physicians are particularly aware of the challenges we face, and the value of generational wisdom transmission cannot be overstated (Ti 2:1-6). Furthermore, as we begin to identify with one another in a public way, we can show how our faith positively impacts our practices and we can stand together when adversity comes (Ecc 4:12).
My hope is that we can find one another so that we can do life well as family. We can encourage each other to live well for Christ. We need one another. May God help us to come together and so be a brighter light in the medical world.