Work as Worship

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A Living Sacrifice

In one of our clinics, a canvas hangs referencing Proverbs 23:18: “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” The practice of medicine, as one can imagine, is certainly based on the tenant of hope. The trust between a patient and their physician, and the expectation that that physician will provide the best possible care for said patient. The desire for a specific treatment or medication to cure one’s ailments. In my line of work, hope lies heavily in the intent that a cast or splint, time, or even sometimes surgery will heal one’s broken bones or damaged tissues. That one’s body will be made “like new” at the hand of a skilled practitioner.

From an early age, I knew that my mission in life was to serve others. My love of science and enjoyment for working with others ultimately led me to a career in medicine, and I’ve been lucky enough to practice as a full-fledged sports medicine physician here in Central Indiana for the past 18 months. Some may be surprised to hear this, but it has been my experience thus far that worship lends itself heavily to both sports and medicine. I’m not talking about the adoration that you have for your favorite football team, or even about the prayers often said before a patient is taken back for a surgical procedure. For example, in a Huffington Post blog, Rick McDaniel writes, “There is much in the Bible that supports the qualities needed for playing football. Many stories in the Bible tell of battles, perseverance and of commitment. Romans 8:29 tells us God wants our character to be formed like Jesus, and football is a character-building enterprise. Learning how to win and lose gracefully happens playing football. Working hard toward a worthy goal and paying the price of self-sacrifice is learned playing football.” Many athletes use the sports that they play as a way to worship, as a way to share their beliefs with others, and as a way to honor God for the gifts that he has given them.

Physicians are much the same way. While it is rare for me to have direct faith-driven conversations with my patients, my goal each and every day is for the work that I do to be pleasing in His sight. By using the lessons gleaned from my Christian beliefs, I strive to comfort my patients during their times of pain, to encourage them through their hardship, and to give them faith that their challenges will pass.

In the Gospel of Luke, God both commanded and empowered people to work for the benefit of others. In Luke 10:9, Jesus urges his followers to “cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” While the healings reported in the Gospels are generally miraculous, the non-miraculous efforts that healthcare workers put forth to restore human bodies can easily be regarded as extensions of Jesus’ life-giving ministry. This work is especially notable in a time of global pandemic and is performed daily by doctors, nurses, technologists, and the countless others whose work makes healing possible. 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” – Romans 12:1

-Jenna Walls

Giving the Comfort I Have Been Given

There are a variety of reasons why I might find someone coming to my office for help.  They might be facing anxiety that prevents them from getting out and doing the things they love or feel so depressed that they no longer are experiencing joy in things they once loved.  Maybe it is someone grieving the loss of someone close to them or trying to heal from past trauma that altered their perception of safety.  Other people might be trying to recover from substance use or made poor decisions that have led them to get involved with the legal system.  Whatever the reason is, I as a mental health therapist, often see people at their darkest point searching for hope, trying to figure out the point of life, and wanting someone to come alongside them to listen and understand what’s going on inside of them.

As a therapist there are a variety of things I try to help my clients with, such as learning tools to manage their symptoms, helping them stabilize when in crisis, as well as helping them understand themselves and this world better.  Therapy is a space for someone to reflect and examine their lives and wrestle with difficult questions they are facing in a world that has caused them to feel broken.   

Although I often do not get to have direct conversations with people about faith, I view my job as worship as I am trying to guide my clients towards finding healing, hope, and purpose.  Helping them view themselves with self-worth and dignity, as people created in the image of God should. Asking them questions to get them to think deeper about who they are, what their purpose is, and who can provide healing. 

Jesus himself cared for those who were sick, vulnerable, and hurting.  He healed them, comforted them, loved them, and acknowledged them when others didn’t.  That is what I strive to do when I counsel those in need.  To be a light when at times all someone might see is darkness. I remind myself of 2 Corinthians 1:3 which says “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”  Because I am given comfort and compassion by Jesus, I then can give that same comfort to those I serve each day, worshipping and completely depending on Jesus while I do it.

-Kaitlin Faust