The Physician’s Work for Souls
Every medical practitioner may through faith in Christ have in his possession a cure of the highest value, a remedy for the sin-sick soul. The physician who is converted and sanctified through the truth is registered in heaven as a laborer together with God, a follower of Jesus Christ. Through the sanctification of the truth God gives to physicians and nurses wisdom and skill in treating the sick, and this work is opening the fast-closed door to many hearts. Men and women are led to understand the truth which is needed to save the soul as well as the body.
This is an element that gives character to the work for this time. The medical missionary work is as the right arm to the third angel’s message which must be proclaimed to a fallen world; and physicians, managers, and workers in any line, in acting faithfully their part, are doing the work of the message. Thus the sound of the truth will go forth to every nation and kindred and tongue and people. In this work the heavenly angels bear a part. They awaken spiritual joy and melody in the hearts of those who have been freed from suffering, and thanksgiving to God arises from the lips of many who have received the precious truth.
Every physician in our ranks should be a Christian. Only those physicians who are genuine Bible Christians can discharge aright the high duties of their profession.
The physician who understands the responsibility and accountability of his position will feel the necessity of Christ’s presence with him in his work for those for whom such a sacrifice has been made. He will subordinate everything to the higher interests which concern the life that may be saved unto life eternal. He will do all in his power to save both the body and the soul. He
will try to do the very work that Christ would do were He in his place. The physician who loves Christ and the souls for whom Christ died will seek earnestly to bring into the sickroom a leaf from the tree of life. He will try to break the bread of life to the sufferer. Notwithstanding the obstacles and difficulties to be met, this is the solemn, sacred work of the medical profession.
True missionary work is that in which the Saviour’s work is best represented, His methods most closely copied, His glory best promoted. Missionary work that falls short of this standard is recorded in heaven as defective. It is weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and found wanting.
Physicians should seek to direct the minds of their patients to Christ, the Physician of soul and body. That which physicians can only attempt to do, Christ accomplishes. The human agent strives to prolong life. Christ is life itself. He who passed through death to destroy him that had the power of death is the Source of all vitality. There is balm in Gilead, and a Physician there. Christ endured an agonizing death under the most humiliating circumstances that we might have life. He gave up His precious life that He might vanquish death. But He rose from the tomb, and the myriads of angels who came to behold Him take up the life He had laid down heard His words of triumphant joy as He stood above Joseph’s rent sepulcher proclaiming: “I am the resurrection, and the life.”
The question, “If a man die, shall he live again?” has been answered. By bearing the penalty of sin, by going down into the grave, Christ has brightened the tomb for all who die in faith. God in human form has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. In dying, Christ secured eternal life for all who believe in
Him. In dying, He condemned the originator of sin and disloyalty to suffer the penalty of sin–eternal death.
The possessor and giver of eternal life, Christ was the only one who could conquer death. He is our Redeemer; and blessed is every physician who is in a true sense of the word a missionary, a savior of souls for whom Christ gave His life. Such a physician learns day by day from the Great Physician how to watch and work for the saving of the souls and bodies of men and women. The Saviour is present in the sickroom, in the operating room; and His power for His name’s glory accomplishes great things.
The physician can do a noble work if he is connected with the Great Physician. To the relatives of the sick, whose hearts are full of sympathy for the sufferer, he may find opportunity to speak the words of life; and he can soothe and uplift the mind of the sufferer by leading him to look to the One who can save to the uttermost all who come to Him for salvation.
When the Spirit of God works on the mind of the afflicted one, leading him to inquire for truth, let the physician work for the precious soul as Christ would work for it. Do not urge upon him any special doctrine, but point him to Jesus as the sin-pardoning Saviour. Angels of God will impress the mind. Some will refuse to be illuminated by the light which God would let shine into the chambers of the mind and into the soul-temple; but many will respond to the light, and from these minds deception and error in its various forms will be swept away.
Every opportunity of working as Christ worked should be carefully improved. The physician should talk of the works of healing wrought by Christ, of His tenderness and love. He should believe that Jesus is his companion,
close by his side. “We are laborers together with God.” 1 Corinthians 3:9. Never should the physician neglect to direct the minds of his patients to Christ, the Chief Physician. If he has the Saviour abiding in his own heart, his thoughts will ever be directed to the Healer of soul and body. He will lead the minds of sufferers to Him who can restore, who when on earth restored the sick to health and healed the soul as well as the body, saying: “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” Mark 2:5.
Never should familiarity with suffering cause the physician to become careless or unsympathetic. In cases of dangerous illness the afflicted one feels that he is at the mercy of the physician. He looks to that physician as his only earthly hope, and the physician should ever point the trembling soul to One who is greater than himself, even the Son of God, who gave His life to save him from death, who pities the sufferer, and who by His divine power will give skill and wisdom to all who ask Him.
When the patient knows not how his case will turn, is the time for the physician to impress the mind. He should not do this with a desire to distinguish himself, but that he may point the soul to Christ as a personal Saviour. If the life is spared, there is a soul for that physician to watch for. The patient feels that the physician is the very life of his life. And to what purpose should this great confidence be employed? Always to win a soul to Christ and magnify the power of God.
When the crisis has passed and success is apparent, be the patient a believer or an unbeliever, let a few moments be spent with him in prayer. Give expression to your thankfulness for the life that has been spared. The physician who follows such a course carries his patient to the One upon whom he is dependent for life. Words of gratitude may flow from the patient to the physician, for through God he has bound this life up with his own;
but let the praise and thanksgiving be given to God as to One who is present though invisible.
On the sickbed Christ is often accepted and confessed; and this will be done oftener in the future than it has been in the past, for a quick work will the Lord do in our world. Words of wisdom are to be on the lips of the physician, and Christ will water the seed sown, causing it to bring forth fruit unto eternal life.
We lose the most precious opportunities by neglecting to speak a word in season. Too often a precious talent that ought to produce a thousandfold is left unused. If the golden privilege is not watched for, it will pass. Something was allowed to prevent the physician from doing his appointed work as a minister of righteousness.
There are none too many godly physicians to minister in their profession. There is much work to be done, and ministers and doctors are to work in perfect union. Luke, the writer of the Gospel that bears his name, is called “the beloved physician,” and those who do a work similar to that which he did are living out the gospel.
Countless are the opportunities of the physician for warning the impenitent, cheering the disconsolate and hopeless, and prescribing for the health of mind and body. As he thus instructs the people in the principles of true temperance, and as a guardian of souls gives advice to those who are mentally and physically diseased, the physician is acting his part in the great work of making ready a people prepared for the Lord. This is what medical missionary work is to accomplish in its relation to the third angel’s message.
Ministers and physicians are to work harmoniously with earnestness to save souls that are becoming entangled in Satan’s snares. They are to point men and women to Jesus, their righteousness, their strength, and the health of their countenance. Continually they are to watch for
souls. There are those who are struggling with strong temptations, in danger of being overcome in the fight with satanic agencies. Will you pass these by without offering them assistance? If you see a soul in need of help, engage in conversation with him even though you do not know him. Pray with him. Point him to Jesus.
This work belongs just as surely to the doctor as to the minister. By public and private effort the physician should seek to win souls to Christ.
In all our enterprises and in all our institutions God is to be acknowledged as the Master Worker. The physicians are to stand as His representatives. The medical fraternity have made many reforms, and they are still to advance. Those who hold the lives of human beings in their hands should be educated, refined, sanctified. Then will the Lord work through them in mighty power to glorify His name.
Christ’s work for the paralytic is an illustration of the way we are to work. Through his friends this man had heard of Jesus and requested to be brought into the presence of the mighty Healer. The Saviour knew that the paralytic had been tortured by the suggestions of the priests that because of his sins God had cast him off. Therefore His first work was to give him peace of mind. “Son,” He said, “thy sins be forgiven thee.” This assurance filled his heart with peace and joy. But some who were present began to murmur, saying in their hearts, “Who can forgive sins but God only?” Then that they might know that the Son of man had power to forgive sins, Christ said to the sick man: “Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.” This shows how the Saviour bound together the work of preaching the truth and healing the sick.
Unity in our Work
As the medical missionary work becomes more extended, there will be a temptation to make it independent of our conferences. But it has been presented to me that this plan is not right. The different lines of our work are but parts of one great whole. They have one center.
In Colossians we read: “The body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” Colossians 2:17-19. Our work in all its lines is to demonstrate the influence of the cross. The work of God in the plan of salvation is not to be done in any disjointed way. It is not to operate at random. The plan that provided the influence of the cross provided also the methods of its diffusion. This method is simple in its principles and comprehensive in its plain, distinct lines. Part is connected with part in perfect order and relation.
God has brought His people together in church capacity in order that they may reveal to the world the wisdom of Him who formed this organization. He knew what plans to outline for the efficiency and success of His people. Adherence to these plans will enable them to testify of the divine authorship of God’s great plan for the restoration of the world.
Those who take part in God’s work are to be led and guided by Him. Every human ambition is to be merged in Christ, who is the head over all the institutions that God has established. He knows how to set in operation and keep in operation His own agencies. He knows that
the cross must occupy the central place because it is the means of man’s atonement and because of the influence it exerts on every part of the divine government. The Lord Jesus, who has been through all the history of our world, understands the methods that should be invested with power over human minds. He knows the importance of every agency and understands how the varied agencies should be related one to another.
“None of us liveth to himself.” Romans 14:7. This is a law of God in heaven and on earth. God is the great center. From Him all life proceeds. To Him all service, homage, and allegiance belong. For all created beings there is the one great principle of life–dependence upon and co-operation with God. The relationship existing in the pure family of God in heaven was to exist in the family of God on earth. Under God, Adam was to stand at the head of the earthly family to maintain the principles of the heavenly family. This would have brought peace and happiness. But the law that none “liveth to himself” Satan was determined to oppose. He desired to live for self. He sought to make himself a center of influence. It was this that incited rebellion in heaven, and it was man’s acceptance of this principle that brought sin on earth. When Adam sinned, man broke away from the heaven-ordained center. A demon became the central power in the world. Where God’s throne should have been, Satan had placed his throne. The world laid its homage, as a willing offering, at the feet of the enemy.
Who could bring in the principles ordained by God in His rule and government to counterwork the plans of Satan and bring the world back to its loyalty? God said: I will send My Son. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16. This is the remedy for sin. Christ says: “Where Satan has set his throne, there shall stand My cross. Satan shall be cast out, and I will be lifted up to draw all men unto Me. I will become the center of the redeemed world. The Lord God shall be exalted. Those who are now controlled by human ambition, human passions, shall become workers for Me. Evil influences have conspired to counterwork all good. They have confederated to make men think it righteous to oppose the law of Jehovah. But My army shall meet in conflict with the satanic force. My Spirit shall combine with every heavenly agency to oppose them. I will engage every sanctified human agency in the universe. None of My agencies are to be absent. I have work for all who love Me, employment for every soul who will work under My direction. The activity of Satan’s army, the danger that surrounds the human soul, calls for the energies of every worker. But no compulsion shall be exercised. Man’s depravity is to be met by the love, the patience, the long-suffering of God. My work shall be to save those who are under Satan’s rule.”
Through Christ, God works to bring man back to his first relation to his Creator and to correct the disorganizing influences brought in by Satan. Christ alone stood unpolluted in a world of selfishness, where men would destroy a friend or a brother in order to accomplish a scheme put into their hands by Satan. Christ came to our world, clothing His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity and divinity grasp divinity. Amid the din of selfishness He could say to men: Return to your center–God. He Himself made it possible for man to do this by carrying out in this world the principles of heaven. In humanity He lived the law of God. To men in every nation, every country, every clime, He will impart heaven’s choicest gifts if they
will accept God as their Creator and Christ as their Redeemer.
Christ alone can do this. His gospel in the hearts and hands of His followers is the power which is to accomplish this great work. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” By Himself becoming subject to Satan’s misrepresentations, Christ made it possible for the work of redemption to be accomplished. Thus was Satan to show himself to be the cause of disloyalty in God’s universe. Thus was to be forever settled the great controversy between Christ and Satan.
Satan strengthens the destructive tendencies of man’s nature. He brings in envy, jealousy, selfishness, covetousness, emulation, and strife for the highest place. Evil agencies act their part through the devising of Satan. Thus the enemy’s plans, with their destructive tendencies, have been brought into the church. Christ comes with His own redeeming influence, proposing through the agency of His Spirit to impart His efficiency to men, and to employ them as His instrumentalities, laborers together with Him in seeking to draw the world back to its loyalty.
Men are bound in fellowship, in dependence, to one another. By the golden links of the chain of love they are to be bound fast to the throne of God. This can be done only by Christ’s imparting to finite man the attributes which man would ever have possessed had he remained loyal and true to God.
Those who, through an intelligent understanding of the Scriptures, view the cross aright, those who truly believe in Jesus, have a sure foundation for their faith. They have that faith which works by love and purifies the soul from all its hereditary and cultivated imperfections.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6 pp. 229-238