Costly commitment and conscientious competence

The Doctor's Life Support for 24 June

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost …?

Luke 14: 28

Today, as we continue applying the parable of the Good Samaritan to health care, let us remember the cost involved and the commitment and the competence that are needed. The Samaritan’s compassion involved risk. Was the body a trap intended to lure others into danger? Health workers may also face danger, quite often physical assault, not to speak of verbal abuse. The compassion also involved cost, for board and lodging were required for the injured man. But the Samaritan was totally committed to completing his good work. For us, salaries may be higher elsewhere and often there are pressures on family and social life. The aspiring student does well to count the cost – a sound biblical principle. As a last thought we may note the Samaritan’s conscientious competence in binding up the wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Conscientiousness is another hallmark of all Christian service. ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.’ (Colossians 3: 23) So it must be with us. In addition, we need to be competent! The Samaritan did the right things. His treatment may seem quaint now but oil and wine were then state-of-the-art. Incompetence is an awful witness, which no amount of Bible quotation or church attendance can make good. Health care has rightly become concerned with quality control, which often involves appraisal and re-accreditation. We may find these controls irksome but, as Christians, we should support them. Christ was a carpenter who, no doubt, made tables and chairs well. Health workers must also work as well as can be. ‘It is the Lord Christ you are serving.’ (Colossians 3: 24) It is his reward we seek.


Written by Andrew Fergusson from the UK

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