My knowledge of humanity seems very small when I compare what I know about it with the wisdom with which our doctors must be equipped in order to deal with its health problems. After four years of association with men and women of this profession in the medical school arid in the field, and quietly observing many of the methods which they use in determining a diagnosis, I am going to venture a case history of what I call "moneyitis." Being a minister, almost of necessity I must start with a text. It is found in the book of Second Chronicles :
"Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this." 2 Chron. 25:9.
Judah's king was a man quite like many today. "He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart." His intentions were good, but inside heart conditions caused him to err. According to the record found here, Amaziah organized Judah's army of 300,000 choice men for an attack on Judah's enemy—the children of Seir, dwellers in the valley of salt. As additional help, he hired 500,000 mighty men of valor from Israel, for whom he paid one hundred talents of silver. For this act, the record says,
''There came a man of God to him, saying, 0 king, let not the army of Israel go with thee ; for the Lord is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim. But if thou wilt go, do it, be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy : for God bath power to help, and to cast down." 2 Chron. 25:7, 8.
This reproof touched the selfish interests of the king as he saw the one hundred talents of silver which he had spent disappear, apparently without returns. Immediately he confronted the man of God with the question : "What shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel ? And the man of God answered, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this." It was only another way of saying what our Lord taught: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matt. 6:33.
To some extent we all suffer from attacks of moneyitis, some more severely than others, especially when we get into straitened circumstances financially. It may be that young graduate physicians are more subject to attacks than others. Possibly I think of this because I so frequently see it in connection with my work. Its first attacks are of a somewhat mild nature, often growing more severe as the student nears the end of his senior and intern years. This seems quite natural since his past history shows that the tide of his meager savings, and small income if any at all, has continually been going out. The reserve funds are at low pressure, and this usually is a dependable symptom of an attack.
By this time moneyitis Is likely to reach an acute stage, and the tefriptation to accept almost any fair offer of income seems for the present to be very beneficial. After a time, when the income has increased enough above living expenses to pay off the honest debts accumulated during training and starting practice, the attacks of moneyitis should be quite under control. However, on careful examination it appears that the discovery that one is able to deliver oneself from a poor condition sometimes causes the trouble to become more deeply seated.. Often it is found to have affected the very vitals of the soul's ambitions, and threatened to overcome and destroy completely all the noble desires once visioned, to accomplish for God and His work.
Often the results are more business with more income, more overhead, longer hours. Sabbath observance, once so sacred, becomes involved—office hours are scheduled as on other days, more cases seem to become emergencies, attendance at Sabbath school must be canceled, and finally attendance at the church service is also an impossibility. There is less time to spend with wife and children at the altar of family worship, and more contacts with the outside world seem necessary. The condition becomes such as to almost completely blot out the vision of using the profession to glorify God in some kind of medical missionary work.
The spirit so alive and ready for action when the course was first begun now lies dormant and almost dead. The sacred obligation of tithes and offerings is neglected, and finally forgotten. The case of moneyitis has reached the stage at which a complete separation from what once was joy in God's truth seems apparent. The enemy of salvation tempts with the idea that connection with God without the church is possible. But alas, the case history of such conditions too often reveals a complete apostasy.
Thank God, no case is hopeless. His love and grace are unbounded and eternal. To such tempted ones comes the cheering message of the ancient man of God: -For God bath power to help, and to cast down." When we are tempted with Amaziah to question, "What shall we do for the hundred talents?" the answer still will be, "The Lord is able to give thee much more than this."
This promise, appropriated by faith, is the only remedy. Apply it, and there begins within the soul once more the blessedness of quiet peace and satisfaction that material things of the world cannot give. There is born again into the heart a desire to take time to commune with God. Once more a portion of His Holy Word is read each day, and meditated upon. The precious heritage of the home is again bound around the family altar. Time is found for some part in medical missionary service. At last the busy doctor learns the answer to the question of the hundred talents and what to do without them.
Let us all—doctors, ministers, teachers, everyone, whatever his profession—take a retrospect of life. Whatever the profession, we are all subject to the love of material gain. Only our kind and merciful God, ready to help in every time of need, can save us through His marvelous grace. Physicians often tell their patients, "I can only counsel and prescribe; it remains with you to believe and cooperate for health." Just as surely can we apply to ourselves the kindly counsel of the Great Physician, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."