Seventh-day physicians and dentists, what type of literature have you provided for your patients to read while they are awaiting your professional services? Never before has the world had such a variety of periodicals as are seen today. Many are considered good reading and others objectionable. Perhaps there are some who think they should conform to the standards of the world, and have only the popular magazines in their waiting rooms, and that it is up to the colporteurs and church members to distribute our literature. But we read:
"We are to be distinguished from the world because God has placed His seal upon us, because He manifests in us His own character of love."—Ministry of Healing, p. 37. "His followers are not to feel themselves detached from the perishing world around them. They are a part of the great web of humanity, and heaven looks upon them as brothers to sinners as well as to saints."—Ibid., p. 104.
As Christian medical workers we have a wonderful opportunity to carry on our business as the Lord would have us. Medical work opens the door for further presentation of the gospel. Seventh-day Adventist physicians have more than physical healing to give to those who come to them for professional care. They are aided by the Great Physician, who cleanses, heals, and regenerates souls that are soiled and weary from long contact with sin. From the inspired pen we are told:
"All physicians are under one Master, and blessed indeed is every physician who has learned from his Lord to watch for souls, while with all his professional skill he works to heal the bodies of the suffering sick."—Medical Ministry, p. 13.
"Every medical practitioner, whether he acknowledges it or not, is responsible for the souls as well as the bodies of his patients. The Lord expects of us much more than we often do for Him. Every physician should be a devoted, intelligent, gospel medical missionary, familiar with Heaven's remedy for the sin-sick soul as well as with the science of healing bodily disease."—Ibid., p. 31.
Many of our physicians and dentists are located in the cities. The gospel of salvation is to be given to those cities. bNo doubt there will be those whose only contact with the third angel's message will be in our doctors' offices. Perhaps the Lord has sent them to us for that purpose, and we must not pass up our opportunity of sowing the gospel seed. We are busy, but are we going to let our work keep us from directing a soul to a better way of life? We believe the Lord is coming soon, but are we showing that belief in our lives?
"The Redeemer expects our physicians to make the saving of souls their first work."--Ibid, p. 37. "Let them remember that if they do not work for the healing of the soul as well as for the healing of the body, they are not following the example of the great Medical Missionary."—Ibid., p. 40.
Many have come to our offices as a result of worry, improper living, and other causes. It is difficult to advise them not to worry when, were it not for our blessed hope, we would be in the same condition or one that is worse.
"The first labors of a physician should be to educate the sick and suffering in the very course they should pursue to prevent disease. The greatest good can be done by our trying to enlighten the minds of all we can obtain access to, as to the best course for them to pursue to prevent sickness and suffering, and broken constitutions, and premature death."—Ibid., p.221.
I realize there is no time to visit with our patients and tell them all they should know about an improved manner of living and thinking, but this is where our literature comes to our aid. In our office (Dr. Lloyd K. Rosenvold's) we endeavor to keep on hand a supply of our magazines and small books. On the table in the reception room are copies of Signs of the Times, Our Times, Life and Health, Health, and Liberty. Among the small books are Prophecy Speaks, So Little Time, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, Steps to Christ, The Cigarette as a Physician Sees It, Better Meals for Less, Diseases of Food Animals, Down Lilac Lanes, Homespun, Bedtime Stories, and many others.
The office assistants must be co-operative, of course, and it is best to have Seventh-day Adventist employees. The opportune time for presenting the literature is variable. Usually after one or two visits one can determine what type of material will be suitable. Sometimes at the first visit the individual will exhibit interest in a certain magazine or book, and he is then offered that which he has selected. Occasionally books are returned after the reader is through with them. In handy cupboards and drawers we keep a liberal supply of books to replace those taken by the patients.
One salesman who came told us we had the finest display of literature he had ever seen in a reception room. Another man stopped smoking after reading The Cigarette as a Physician Sees It. One of public school nurses commented very favorably upon our choice of reading material. A pharmacist's wife, who came in for consultation, took home some small books which she thought would help her husband in teaching his Sunday school class. The pastor's wife of the same church has been reading many of our publications. She says her husband enjoys The Signs of the Times, which someone is sending him.
An elderly Catholic priest has been coming in for treatment. On the first visit he picked up Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, expressing his pleasure in finding such a fine book. He took it home to read, and has also borrowed Steps to Christ and The Desire of Ages. Every time he comes in he tells of his enjoyment in reading the books.
We plan to use Our Times project as a follow-up. This involves sending, first, the book Behold the Man by Taylor G. Bunch and a year's subscription to Our Times, and then the book The Surety of My Faith. The first exalts the Christ, the second presents the doctrines, and the last im'ites the reader to join the remnant church.
There are a host of secular periodicals that are uplifting, and many are suitable for professional offices. However, with occasional rare exceptions we have even excluded such from our waiting room. It is not that much of the secular literature is in itself objectionable, but we feel that in our few and often brief contacts with many of our patients we wish to exert the maximum influence for the third angel's message and our message of health.
We do not wish to lose a single opportunity to further the gospel. We firmly believe that gospel literature dissemination in a professional office cannot be carried out as efficiently When there is a mixture of the two kinds of literature on the table. Some time ago someone expressed the wish that a suitable literature rack for doctors' waiting rooms be designed. One answer to the request was given which I feel clearly illustrates the point. "The best gospel tract rack is the waiting room table cleared of all but S.D.A. literature." We have found this to be very true, having tried both ways.
I try to send Voice of Prophecy logs to all our non-Seventh-day Adventist patients and the first and second lessons of the Junior Voice of Prophecy to the children.
We never know who will receive benefit from our literature. It may be that those who appear to be the poorest prospects for the kingdom will someday embrace the truth that we love so dearly. We are to make ourselves busy spreading the gospel of salvation, and our literature is a wonderful means of doing so. If we really believe the Saviour is coming soon, our efforts to gather in souls will be strengthened. "We are now to unify, and by true medical missionary work prepare the way for our coming King."—Medical Ministry, p. 22.