Avoid the Spirit of Nebuchadnezzar
After twenty-six years of the busy life of a medical practitioner, I look back to a graduation exercise held at Loma Linda when my classmates and I were just completing the first year of training there. We had gathered for the graduation exercises for one of the earliest classes. Dr. George Harding H, of Ohio, was giving the sermon, and since we had no suitable building, the people were assembled in a large tent such as is used for tent efforts.
Very well do I remember one sentence which Dr. Harding gave to the graduating class, the assembled guests, relatives, and friends. He made the statement that in his opinion the spirit of Nebuchadnezzar was that which came too commonly into the lives of medical practitioners, to spoil their true influence as spiritual guides and leaders. This statement made a great impression upon us, and its influence has been with me during the years. How often I have thought of the fact that a surgeon may make a deep incision into the very vitals of a patient and then close the wound, later to take the credit for all the healing processes. But not one injured tissue cell could he in any way heal, nor could he cause the line of separation of the tissues to unite again. All this is done by the same marvelous re-creative power that is found either in the production of a new world or in the transformation of a sinner into a saint. The healing process in a wound is just as great a marvel, it would seem to me, as the healing miracles which were performed by Christ and written into the New Testament records.
How fitting and pleasing it is to a patient for the doctor to say, "You were healed by divine intervention. I stood by only as an agent —a poor representative of those who today stand for divine healing and righteous living in accordance with the testimonies of the saints and our Lord Himself."
In those cases wherein persons have been led during sickness to find their Lord, we often find a physician taking to himself some of that credit. It may be done almost unconsciously ; nevertheless, that feeling often does come into the heart of a doctor. This thought was in Dr. Harding's mind, no doubt, as he talked to us so many years ago. He had learned and he expounded to us the fact that a doctor, through his admiring friends and patients, is placed under temptation to acquire an exaggerated idea of his own importance. He may not speak it out loud, but he may have within his innermost mind the statement which shook down Nebuchadnezzar's domain, namely, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built?"
This practice that I have—does it belong to me, or was it given to me by the Lord? My swelling bank account—does it belong to me, or was it given to me by the Lord ? Those who stepped out and became members of the church —were they really brought in by me, or by heavenly agencies which I in some way assisted and aided?
The prestige that a physician has who graduates from the College of Medical Evangelists —where did he get it, and how ? It so happens that in much of the United States today the simple statement that a physician graduated from the College of Medical Evangelists is all that is required to give him the respect of the public. This also places him in a very satisfactory relationship with hospital staffs and the regular line of physicians in practice. They have heard everywhere of the institution which serves neither meat nor coffee; which closes its doors at the beginning hour of the Sabbath, and does not open them until after the Sabbath is past ; where the teachers offer prayer before-class is begun ; where the odor of tobacco is never noted, and a questionable joke is rarely, if ever, heard.
It is rather pleasing to have and to enjoy this prestige. I have been in various parts of this country maffy times, and have told hospital staff members that I was a graduate of C.M.E., and have immediately been treated with extra respect. It has always had a very humbling influence upon me, and has also placed within me a high regard and an everlasting gratitude-for the mighty men of God who got down on their knees under the palm trees at Loma Linda and established that school, on what Doctor Magan often referred to as the "holy hill." So far as I know, the spirit of Nebuchadnezzar never got into the hearts of those men or the leaders of that place during the years. But I have always had to fight it down in my own heart, and I have seen it possess and spoil the ,experience of many graduates. This is a way of thinking that we should resist, and I do pray that the influence of this little statement that I .am placing on these pages may help many a man who perhaps was present at that meeting ,about twenty-nine years ago to take stock of his home, his office, and his practice, and see that the spirit of Nebuchadnezzar shall not for :a second have any domination over any of his glans, his work, or his life.
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