Reflections from the Front: Jonah and the Call
Our pastor just finished a series on “Jonah the Reluctant Prophet.” God’s call to Jonah was crystal clear, “Go to Ninevah!” But Jonah didn’t want to obey. He had his reasons: the Assyrians were a vile, violent, ruthless people who had persecuted Jews historically and who would eventually drag Israel into a brutal captivity. Yet God was clearly calling Jonah to action and Jonah refused to cooperate with God’s plan.
We are all called to God himself: to obey, worship and glorify him, and to evangelize and make disciples. We may be called to marriage, parenthood, or the care of our parents— the only one of the Ten Commandments with a promise. Many of us are called to become physicians. Here our day-to-day functions may evolve over time: busy clinician, counselor, educator, mentor, and leader. Leader?
In our Christian subculture, becoming a missionary doctor is often given special, if not top billing, as far as a call goes. God uses Christian medical leaders in foreign mission settings; but he also uses Christian medical leaders here at home. Jesus urged his disciples to serve him in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and then unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Has he called you to stay home and be his voice in Jerusalem?
“Real doctors,” especially young physicians, often see the physician-healer role as the most desirous, rewarding, even the most noble profession. I resonate. But recently God made clear a new call to me—coaching and overseeing doctors to help them serve others better here in the United States. He has asked me to multiply the benefits of my experience in the lives of others. (He has allowed me to maintain an active part-time medical practice, so I guess I am really a player-coach.)
The role of administrative physician is not seen as being very jazzy or highly desirable. It is not portrayed on any prime time TV show—there are few overwhelming crises, and none that can be solved in 48 minutes. Having said this, medical administrators can be salt and light to a large group of needy people, many of whom, if properly nurtured and motivated, can serve their worlds in a deeper, richer way. Hopefully, the doctors, nurses, patients and hospitals that you will serve in this role will not be as vicious and ungrateful as Jonah anticipated his target audience would be. Regardless, there is no better, safer place to be than in the center of God’s will. If this is where God is calling you, it is where you should be. If you are unaware or uninformed about this option it is hard to seek the Lord’s will about pursuing this.
I’m certain this brief essay will push few of you into the career he has called me to, but we need godly Christian woman and men in these leadership roles. If God is calling you to this kind of “secular” leadership role, carefully confirm his leading in your life, but don’t sail off to Tarshish. You are needed in Ninevah.