The Physician of the Soul

HEALTH EVANGELISM: The Physician of the Soul

"Christ Jesus, central in his life and work will he find the daily program assembling itself into a unified instrument in a real soul-winning work."

President. Cape Conference, South African Union

A manufacturer once put out a complicated jigsaw puzzle of a map. Many were often baffled in fitting it together until they observed a picture of a man on the back of the pieces. To assemble the man was to assemble the complex map. Even so, many medical missionaries find the daily round of duty so exacting that they are unable to make all their activities fit into a soul-winning objective. Only when the medical missionary finds and keeps the Man, Christ Jesus, central in his life and work will he find the daily program assembling itself into a unified instrument in a real soul-winning work. If the Man, Christ Jesus, is not found and kept central, the work done will, like the puzzle, be difficult to unify in effective service; and before many years have passed, the medical missionary will find himself wondering why he came to the mission field.

To find and to keep the Man, Christ Jesus, central, or not to do so, is really what makes the medical worker a fit or a misfit in the mission field. We need ever to bear in mind that "no man can be God's holy man until he is wholly God's man." The daily program may be technical and exacting, yet in the final analysis the essentials of the medical missionary task are simply "talking to God for men and talking to men for God."

Jesus Christ

"When John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whoso ever shall not be offended in me." Matt. 11:2-6.

Jesus is the pattern for medical missionary work. In Him we find the coordinated work of preaching and healing. As a matter of fact, Jesus called attention to this as the evidence that He was the Messiah. This soul-winning medical work constituted His credential.

The Lord's messenger said:

"I wish to speak about the relation existing between the medical missionary work and the gospel ministry. It has been presented to me that every department of the work is to be united in one great whole. . . . There is to be no division between the ministry and the medical work. The physician should labor equally with the minister, and with as much earnestness and thoroughness for the salvation of the soul, as well as for the restoration of the body. . . .

"Christ was bound up in all branches of the work. He did not make any division. He did not feel that He was infringing on physicians when He healed the sick. He proclaimed the truth, and when the sick came to Him for healing, He asked them i£ they believed that He could make them whole. He was just as ready to lay His. hands in healing on the sick and afflicted as He was to preach the gospel. He was just as much at home in this work as in pro claiming the truth; for healing the sick is a part of the gospel.

"To take people right where they are, whatever their position, whatever their condition, and help them in every way possible, this is gospel ministry." Medical Ministry., pp. 237, 238.

As medical missionaries we are here exhorted to follow the pattern set forth in the healing and preaching of Jesus. We are warned of the danger of a purely professional outlook.

A professional outlook would divide the work into compartments. The results would be disastrous to our soul-winning objective. Should a teacher withdraw himself from soul winning and say, "I'm a teacher, and my work is con fined to the classroom and the textbook"? Should the physician withdraw himself from spiritual work and confine himself to the physical needs of the patients? The counsel of the Spirit of prophecy is to the effect that teaching and healing are effective means that all may use to reach hearts and win souls to Christ. The various phases of work are to blend into the one indivisible objective of saving men for the kingdom.

Just as Christ was bound up in all branches of the work, so should we be today, and these branches themselves should be harmonized and bound up into the program of soul winning.

Luke, the Beloved Physician

We find in Luke an example of the medical missionary whose efforts were complementary to those of the apostle Paul, with whom he labored. They were a team carrying forward a balanced program.

"Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow- laborers." Philemon 24.

"Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you." Col. 4:14.

"For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescehs to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me." 2 Tim. 4:10, 11.

This wonderful association of the "beloved physician" and the great apostle to the Gentiles continued through persecution to the end. No wonder, for we read that Luke's whole life was inspired by the life, work, and teaching of Jesus. (Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-3.)

In Ministry of Healing, pages 140 and 141, we find the following positive statements:

"Luke, the writer of the gospel that bears his name, was a medical missionary. . . . The apostle Paul heard of his skill as a physician, and sought him out as one to whom the Lord had entrusted a special work. He secured his cooperation, and for some time Luke accompanied him in his travels from place to place. . . . Luke's success as a physician gained for him many opportunities for preaching Christ among the heathen. It is the divine plan that we shall work as the disciples worked. Physical healing is bound up with the gospel commission. In the work of the gospel, teaching and healing are never to be separated."

So Luke, like his Master, was a medical missionary, never too busy while caring for the sick to both pray with them and preach to them. There again, therefore, we find in the work of Luke the true emphasis that "teaching," "preaching," and "healing" should never be separated in the mission program in general and in the worker's life in particular.

Doctors and nurses hold in their professions the master key to human lives. They visit their fellow men at the very time when they are the most susceptible to the gospel and responsive to its appeal. Would it not, therefore, be a triumph for Satan to blind the eyes of doctors and nurses to their opportunities to win souls for Christ?

Dr. Samuel McComb, of Boston, once wrote: "It is high time for the minister to realize that man is not a soul without a body, and it is also high time for the physician to realize that man is not a body without a soul."

The truth of this lies in the fact that man was originally made a trinity. He is still a trinity, a fallen trinity of physical, mental, and spiritual needs. Therefore the gospel of Jesus should be mediated in a threefold way to effectively save the lost.

The Test of the True Missionary

What springs spontaneously out of your heart? What is the topic of your conversation when you meet one another? Is it motorcars? Is it your work from a professional viewpoint? Or is it how your work is enabling you to win souls for the kingdom of God? It is well to re member that what gets your attention today will eventually get you.

So often one hears the excuse, "Oh! I'm not a preacher!" But just a moment. Is it not true that any man who can give a successful car sales talk might also with proper preparation give an effective Bible study? Too many of us are spiritual dwarfs. We call this reticence, but in reality it is spiritual barrenness!

A Danger of Being Sidetracked

A man once had a dog named Tray. Tray was well bred, and his owner expected much of him. At long last he was able to go to the hunt. Suddenly he "put up" and gave chase to an antelope. Soon, however, a startled rabbit flashed across the track of the antelope, diverting Tray's attention. Forgetting the antelope, Tray swerved, and dashed after the rabbit. Just as he was gaining ground a rat darted across the path, and again Tray, diverted, rushed after the rat, only to see it run into a hole in the ground. Excited, scratching and barking, he presented the picture of frustration diverted from the big thing to end up by barking into a hole in the ground!

Let us not as missionaries allow the little things of the daily round to divert us from the one essential and big objective of winning souls.

Soul Winning

In its nature Christianity is not a science. It is more than a religion, for it is a way of life, yes, a self-forgetful way of life. The true missionary, like his Master, must live to bless others.

"Missionary work is the necessary outcome of Christian life. It is not a privilege of life it is a necessity of life. Live the Christian life and you are bound to be a missionary." G. CAMPBELL MORGAN.

Are you happy in your work? If you are following the self-forgetful way of living and working, you cannot help being happy. Henry Drumrnond once wrote:

"Half the world is on the wrong scent in the pursuit of happiness. They think it consists in having and getting and in being served by others. It consists in giving and in serving others."

The only real way to keep the truth as a sanctifying power in the life is to give it away share it with those in darkness. If we are merely using our talents in getting and spending, then we are wasting our powers. Some in a self- centered service have even fallen so far in doing the Lord's work as to forget and lose the Lord of the work.

"He that winneth souls is wise." Prov. 11:30. Why is it wise to win souls? First, because this is the way to ensure your own soul's salvation; and second, because it is the only service which truly compensates in the mission fields.

A Planned Work

A Dutch artist who had devoted his life to painting flowers was once asked to paint a portrait of King James II of England. After many sittings the picture was completed, but it was a puzzle to find King James. He was over shadowed and eclipsed by the background and border of flowers! We fear that in the service of some, Christ is eclipsed and overshadowed by the backgrounds and borders of their service. Are you making Jesus central and prominent in your work?

"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." John 12:32. Jesus must be lifted up, and nothing must ever be done that will not make Him prominent in the mission program. Many who have been helped physically will inquire the way of salvation.

Our program of work must not be spasmodic, merely the impulse of the moment, but each medical missionary should plan to give systematic Bible studies to the interested people. These interests will grow into a series of meetings. When an outlined program of subjects is followed, God will bless, and souls will be converted and baptized. In these studies and services, you will witness for Christ. Your own soul will be refreshed, and those who hear you will be saved. This is real missionary work.

There may seem to be a mountain of difficulties in your way, but it is only a mountain of smoke. Start climbing the mountain of difficulties with resolute faith, and you will reach the top with the joyful satisfaction of a fruitful term of service.

Success or Failure

Success or failure as missionaries stares us in the face. We shall succeed only in so far as we win souls for Christ. The messenger of the Lord has given us an inspiring view of the revival of real missionary work:

"If the workers will humble their hearts before God, the blessing will come. They will all the while be receiving fresh, new ideas, and there will be a wonderful revival of gospel medical missionary work." Medical Ministry, p. 257.

Shall we come up to the end of our term of service empty-handed? Or shall we come up more than satisfied, with a bountiful harvest of souls for the kingdom? (Isa. 53:11; Matt. 25:21.) Only such shall enter into the joy of their Lord. May we be numbered among them.

 

 

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President. Cape Conference, South African Union

April 1952

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