“…not merely a doctor”

“The doctor has so objectified himself that he never faces up to himself and his own life at all.”

“Somewhere in Pembrokshire a tombstone is said to bear the inscription, ‘John Jones, born a man, died a grocer.’ There are many whom I have had the privilege of meeting whose tombstone might well bear the grim epitath: ‘…. born a man, died a doctor’! The greatest danger which confronts the medical man is that he may become lost in his profession.”

D Martyn Lloyd Jones, in “Healing and the Scriptures.”

Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones was a brilliant British physician and an outstanding preacher, and offers great medical wisdom and spiritual insight. This book was published in 1982 but still contains “a masterful view of the Christian physician’s calling, and of the dimensions of ministry to the whole man.” (Quote from J.I.Packer).

How often our identity is tied up with being medical professionals. Lloyd Jones challenges us to view success not merely as the accumulation of medical knowlege, reputatation and material wealth, but fruitfulness for Christ and His kingdom. The foundation of our identity must be in God, not ourselves; we are creatures made in the image of God and created for fellowship with God — all of which is only possible through the salvation obtained by Jesus at the cross.

Dr. Lloyd Jones says to us, “I beseech you not to allow the profession to make you forget yourself, that you are a man, and not merely a doctor.”  And to bring the vocabulary in the 21st century, we’d say, “you are a man or a woman, not merely a doctor!”

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Doctor, epidemiologist, husband, father, Christian missionary physician

One thought on ““…not merely a doctor””

  1. Well said Paul (and Lloyd-Jones as well). From my own experience and failures in this area and having worked with quite a few long and short-term missionary docs over the last few years, I truly believe this is a topic we desperately need to spend some time thinking through. I think missionary docs may be particularly vulnerable here given the enormous, never-ending needs we’re surrounded by and the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in. Doesn’t take long to develop an entirely distorted sense of identity and takes even less time for that to come crashing down in the face of repeated failures and losses (which are inevitable). What’s left standing after that crash? For me, not much was left and it sent me into a deep time of spiritual depression and ultimately, by God’s grace, tremendous growth as I began to understand where my true identity lies. Thanks again for this and keep these conversations going. Blessings.


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