Is there a doctor in the house?


Last week, I had to make my biyearly visit to the doctor’s office.

I got my commercial driver’s license several years ago so that I could drive our church bus when necessary, and in order to maintain it, the Department of Transportation requires that I have a physical done once every two years.

I had time last Friday morning, and the deadline for getting the paperwork in was fast approaching, so I decided I would just get it over with. After asking around and making some phone calls, I discovered that the local Urgent Care does walk-in DOT physicals, so off I went.

When I entered the Urgent Care facility, there were several people already waiting in the waiting room. To the right, there were other healthy individuals who, like me, were there to get physicals to confirm their health. To the left, there were noticeably sick individuals trying to maintain their distance from one another and from the healthy people across the room.

The poor folks to the left were wearing the bright face masks provided by Urgent Care to mitigate exposure to the various germs going around. I quickly realized that they weren’t trying to protect themselves from germs of others, but to contain their own germs and protect others from being exposed to them. I checked in and, of course, sat on the right with the other healthy people.

While we were waiting, two of the gentlemen struck up a conversation. They both worked for the same trucking company and were not at all happy with having to jump through these hoops in order to do their job, which made sense to me. The longer they sat in the waiting room, the more money they were losing as their trucks sat idle.

But they were also unhappy with the situation in the waiting room itself. They were frustrated that there were sick people in the waiting room … at Urgent Care … to see doctors.

While I certainly understood their concerns about the potential of contracting whatever plagues were floating around in the air, I couldn’t help but find their complaint laugh-out-loud hilarious. Sure, we the healthy had a right and a reason to be there. The sick, however, had an urgent need to be there.

It’s interesting to me that Jesus uses a similar picture to characterize his work and subsequently the work of his followers, the church.

During his time on Earth, he was constantly hanging out with people of questionable character. He spent time and shared space with people who were thought of as the worst of sinners. When asked why he would spend his time with those kind of people, Jesus noted the obvious truth: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

We shouldn’t be surprised or concerned when those who are struggling make their way into our churches. In truth, we should be surprised and concerned when they don’t.

Our churches should be places where it is safe to not have it all together. Our churches should be places where it’s OK to be honest and open about our struggles. Our churches should be places where we come to seek wholeness and healing together, understanding that none of us come untouched by the sickness of sin.

Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned.” All of us have been and will be in need of the touch of the healer of our souls, Jesus.

Sometimes, we go to the doctor to confirm and continue living healthy lifestyles. Sometimes, we go to the doctor to get healthy. Both have a right and a reason to be where they are.

It is our job to make sure those who are struggling know they are welcome and wanted and to go a step further by caring for them in their time of need. It is the sick, after all, that need the doctor most.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at Send comments to [email protected].

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