Sunday, November 16, 2008

Medical Missions Conference

I went to the Global Missions Health Conference in Louisville, KY this past Thursday through Saturday. It is the second time that I have been. As a future health care professional, the opportunities and possibilities that have been presented to me are truly amazing. Last year, I walked into the bottom floor of the exhibit hall to see the different organizations that were set up. Notice I said the bottom floor; there were 2 floors full of exhibitors (I’m guessing 200+ booths). For those of you that live in the southern Baptist world, you can understand that I was shocked to know that there were so many choices out there to serve God that weren’t the IMB. I would also guess that there were at least a thousand people from all over the world who had come to gather and rejoice and learn about missions and being health care providers. It was amazing!
God really encouraged my heart this weekend. As I went to the different sessions and heard people speak, I kept thinking about the passion of the people that I was listening too. One man started a clinic in Memphis, TN out of his residency and in the past decade has actually moved into the inner city to become a part of his community that he serves. I had the privilege of hearing Steve Saint (son of a missionary killed in End of the Spear) speak about his life as a boy, his mission now, and other amazing things. I also was completely blown away by our last speaker who was a very humble 92 year old physician who had dedicated his entire life to serving and furthering Jesus Christ. Each speaker was so passionate about the wonderful things God had done in their lives. It was evident that they weren't saying look at me, look at what I have done with God's help. The love that they had for Christ oozed out through their stories. The wonderful things that happened to them seemed to be byproducts of their love for Christ. And that is the challenge that I was given; I was shown that I should seek to love God with my whole heart. It really isn’t about the work they are doing or what they are getting accomplished, but rather loving God. Each of the speakers that I heard seemed to have accomplished so much out of simply loving Christ. From what I saw none of them were trying to reach X number of people or treat X number of patients, but they were seeking Christ daily and as a result were then reaching and treating people.
For me I sometimes get caught up in “all that needs to be done.” I keep asking Christ what it is that he wants me to do. When I graduate, I want to be put in the “right” practice or at the “right” ministry to begin serving him. I don’t want to miss THE boat that God wants me to get on. Well, I think somewhere along the way I forgot, “love the Lord your God with all your soul and all your might.” THE boat that I should be on is the one that has been set in the direction of loving God.
Honestly, I know I haven’t been doing my part. I am not seeking Christ in everything that I do. In fact, right now in PA school, I am solely concentrating on learning medicine. I have felt so overwhelmed in all that is required of becoming knowledgeable in treating patients that I have made it ok for myself not to go to church and not to spend time in the word. I say to myself, “God called me to PA school. For his glory I need to study and do the best that I can do. So that when I am finished I can be a great PA for Him. He will understand if I don’t make it to church on Sunday because I am exhausted from studying and want to sleep in a little and then study some more.”
Man, I have been foolish. Yes, I do believe that to whom much is given, much is required, but not at the sake of falling out of fellowship with Christ. The challenge that I found Christ gently whispering to me this weekend was that I need to get back to Him and everything else will fall into place. I have felt challenged to do this: Each day when I come home from work and get ready to study, I am going to pull out my bible first and spend no less than 15 minutes with Him. I know that you may be saying 15 minutes isn’t a lot, but I truly haven’t even spent one minute in His word in quite some time. I think I will be surprised at how much time I actually spend with Him, and I’m pretty sure my learning will more than likely be blessed by it!
My challenge to you would be to take a minute and evaluate all the “things” that you are doing for Christ. Why are you doing these things? Is it because you feel obligated? Is it because it is the “right” thing to do? Is it out of the obligation of a call you feel was placed in your life? Is it because it makes you look good while saying it is all for God’s glory? If you aren’t doing it as an overspilling of seeking to love Christ with your whole heart, you may need to make some adjustments in your life and your heart. I challenge you to love God first; take as long as you need and see what happens and where it leads you.