A good friends asks me, "Are you first a missionary and second a doctor, or is it the other way around?" In other words, "Is proselytizing (a.k.a. evangelizing) or medicine your primary goal?" This is a good question, and one that many ask, and likely even more want to ask but don't know how. But the most truthful answer requires a different question.
We believe foremost that the message of Jesus is good news. OK, so what is this news that's so good? Namely, that Jesus' life, death, and resurrection has accomplished a way to new life. Our old life (i.e. without the good news of Jesus) has been full of sin. Jesus offers forgiveness and His Spirit to overcome sin. We had lies. He offers truth. We had hatred. He offers love. We had selfishness and inwardness. Jesus offers a way of serving Him by serving others. We perpetrated injustice. Jesus bring true justice. We had death. Jesus brings new life.
For many years, Christians have chosen between the categories of Word and Deed. One group chose to spread the message of Jesus, and the other to do the works he commanded. But these are inseparable. The Gospel (which simply means "good news") is to be in Word and Deed. The good news is that Jesus is your salvation for all of time and that His kingdom is bringing you medical care here and now. Word without Deed would be an incomplete Gospel. Deed without Word would also.
This idea endows everyday medical care with eternal significance and makes it not just a means to a more "spiritual" end. And it causes the message of Jesus to be rightly endowed with transformative power here and now. This truth is central to our mission.
Here's a quote I read the other day and it made me think of your blog:
"We cannot be authentically Christian and simultaneously be so heavenly-minded that we're no earthly good any more than we can be so earthly-minded that we're no heavenly good. The only possibility for us is to be so heavenly-minded that we do the earth good. And that demands a substantive lifestyle balance where both faith and work are operative, where both holiness and service motivate, where both Word and deed dominate, where the Gospel is proclaimed in both doctrine and life."
~ George Grant, The Micah Mandate
This is a really good post. As a midwife in training, I've been asked this very same question of "which comes first for you: medicine or evangelism?" Thank you for clarifying.
Btw, Hank Willis gave me the link to your blog, and I've thoroughly enjoyed reading it. :)
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