The Best Way to Say Thanks

Eleven years ago this past March, we took my father to the Emergency Room at St. John’s Hospital in Anderson. The hospital staff quickly realized that Dad was a very sick man. They decided to rush him by ambulance to Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis. IU Med Center, as the name implies, is a university hospital. It not only cares for the sick and injured – it also serves as a training center.

They performed an exploratory surgery on my father that night. We talked to the doctor prior to the surgery. (His name, by the way, was Robert Goulet – not the singer). Dr. Goulet told us that Dad was suffering with one of three things. It was either a perforated ulcer, or stomach cancer, or a very severe case of pancreatitis (which it turned out to be).

IU Med Center was different from other hospitals in that the doctor was never alone. That was because he was not only a doctor; he was also an instructor. Thus, when he came in to see Dad, he always came with a team of others. There were almost always several young, recently graduated interns and residents who were in advanced training under the doctor. And sometimes medical students who had not yet graduated would also come in with him.

But it was obvious. Dr. Goulet was the main man! He was the much respected Doctor! He was the wise professor! He was the one they all hoped to be like someday! And you could tell by how his students looked at him and how they intently listened to his every word that they greatly admired him. Dr. Goulet was the best. These residents and students felt fortunate to have the privilege of learning from him. Someday they all aspired to be great doctors – just like Dr. Goulet. It was obvious that they were truly thankful for the opportunity to be trained by the very best.

And yet, you could also tell by Dr. Goulet’s kind and giving demeanor, that, as far as he was concerned, the best way they could show their gratitude to him was by becoming like him. The best way for them to express their thanks to him was to truly care for each patient as much as he did. Dr. Goulet’s goal was that, in time, they would become a bunch of little Dr. Goulets who would be both as caring and as capable at treating patients as he was. That was the best possible way that they could express their thanks to him!

And that’s also how it was with Jesus…Dr. Jesus. During His years of earthly ministry He was never alone. He was always being followed by His students – His disciples – His interns in training who would watch His every move and listen intently to His every word.

What an honor it was for them to sit at His feet and to learn from the very best. It was their earnest desire to someday become like Him. For Jesus was the Great Physician – the greatest of all time. How thankful they were for the privilege of sitting at His feet.

A lot of doctors today are specialists. They only work with one type of disease or injury. There are cancer doctors, heart doctors, and bone doctors. There are eye doctors, and ear, nose and throat doctors and this kind of doctor and that kind of doctor… But Jesus had no such limitations. Dr. Jesus was a specialist in every field and He seemed to especially like working on the most difficult cases. He spoke of some of His successes in treating His patients in Matthew 11, saying, “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up…” (Matthew 11:5)

And His interns and students were always right there watching Him with deep admiration and wonder. Never had anyone loved and cared for people like Dr. Jesus did. And that’s the kind of doctor they hoped to someday become. He was the best!

But one thing that Dr. Jesus knew well was that man’s greatest sickness was not physical in nature. In Matthew 9, Jesus told the Pharisees, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” And then He made mention of man’s greatest sickness, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Here Jesus noted that, “The main sickness I came to heal is not physical in nature but spiritual. I’ve come to heal those who have the dreaded disease of sin.”

Jesus was not alone when He spoke that day. Matthew 9:10 tells us that “many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.” Here Jesus was speaking – not only to the Pharisees who were there – but also to His interns in training – His students – those disciples who were desiring to soon follow in His footsteps – those who were wanting to love people as He loved them and to help people as He helped them. For soon these students would be graduating. Soon they would become spiritual doctors themselves. And Jesus’ earnest desire was that they would become just as effective at loving and treating people as He had been.

I believe it was Jesus’ desire that they would know that the best way they could show their gratitude to Him was by finishing what He had started. The best way they could say thanks to Him was by loving people as He had loved them and by ministering to them as He had.

John 21:15-17 says, “When they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.” Here Jesus explained, “The best way you can express your thanks to me, Peter, is by becoming like me – by doing with your life what I did with mine – by allowing me to live my life through you. That’s the best way possible for you to express your gratitude to me.”

Paul wrote to the church at Colossae saying, “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Colossians 3:17) To do something in Jesus name means to do it as Jesus would. It means to do it by His indwelling Spirit – or, to let Him do it through you – to let Him live His life through you. And here Paul explained that to live our lives in this way is to give God thanks. When we become doers of the word and not hearers only this becomes a living witness of our gratitude. And that is the best way to say thanks! Let our lives say it!

Rev. Robert Stroup is the District Superintendent of the Indiana District, United Pentecostal Church International. He is Pastor of Pentecostals of South Lake in Merrillville, Indiana.

photo credit: Incognita Nom de Plume via photopin cc

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tags: , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply