I am grateful to have such a good doctor. In addition to his extensive medical knowledge, he has an excellent bedside manner and is enthusiastic about his work. I really think that he likes me as a person and wants the best for me. Recently, however, he has not been such a fun person to visit.
It all started after my last physical. I expected him to look at me quickly and tell me that I was in good health. Instead, he ran some tests. Some, like the blood test, actually hurt! I did not see why his examination should be painful.
After the tests, he came in to talk with me. I expected this nice doctor, whom I am sure would like to keep my business, to compliment me on my good health. Instead, he told me that I needed to change my diet, removing bad foods that would raise my cholesterol. I agreed completely until he started to list the bad food—and it was food that I liked. He also prescribed some medicines, which cost me money, and I have to remember to take daily. He even told me to exercise more though it requires additional time and effort. When I was sick recently I expected him to tell me that I would just get better. Instead, I had to take more medicine and avoid some fun activities for a few days. As you can see, he is not much fun to visit anymore.
Sometimes I wonder if he still cares anything about me.
A couple of weeks ago I ate out at a popular steak restaurant. I immediately liked our waitress; she was not sullen or rude but very friendly to me and my family. She took care of us very well. Our drink glasses stayed full and she got our orders correct the first time.
I think what I liked most about her was that she was not judgmental. When she took our drink order, I asked for a Coke. She gave me no lecture on caffeine and its affect on my heart but brought me a full glass and plenty of refills. When we ordered the food, it soon became apparent that I could order anything on the menu, even some of the “bad” foods my doctor warned me about, and she would bring them out with a smile. I would guess that I could have even ordered a large quantity of food and she would never have told me that it was too much or that I might get indigestion.
After the meal, she asked if we wanted dessert. Nearly everything on the doctor’s “banned” list was on the dessert menu. I summoned my courage and asked for the brownie with ice cream and fudge topping. I expected rebuke but instead received a very large (and delicious) dessert.
After I forced down the last spoonful of ice cream, the waitress brought the check. It began to dawn on me that for every thing that I ordered, I was expected to leave at least a 15% tip. It was in her financial interest for me to order a lot of food, whether it was good for my physical health or not. However, she did not seem to be motivated by the money but just wanted to do her job well.
It was not her concern, of course, whether the food that I ordered was good for me or not. I think she expected me to know what food was good and bad and to order accordingly.
Replace your doctor with your waitress?
None of us would like our doctor to be our food server at a restaurant. He would tell us that we could not order certain foods because of health concerns, would probably limit the size of our portions, and not bring us any dessert. Likewise, though we might joke about it, we would not want our waitress to be our doctor. She would tell us what we want to hear, not bring any bad news or hurt us, and would tell us to eat anything we want. Of course, our health would suffer greatly under such treatment for she would not correct poor health habits nor cure our ailments.
Who do you want for a preacher?
A certain preacher often preached on things the congregation needed to hear but would require them to change some bad behaviors. It would cause them some inner pain to realize that they were disobeying God and would have to change their lives to please God. Some thought he was mad at them or did not want them to enjoy themselves.
Another preacher would tell the congregation the things that they wanted to hear. He preached about entertaining things and avoided issues that would require effort to understand. He was careful not to preach on anything that would cause his audience discomfort, make them question cherished beliefs, or change bad habits (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
Which preacher do you need?