Two doctors in our church are going to work for a month at a mission hospital in Africa, but I can't help but wonder if it's really worthwhile. After all, once they come back things over there won't really be any different, will they? Why bother?
I’m very thankful these doctors are willing to sacrifice their time and money to serve Christ in this way. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).
And yes, it’s worthwhile for them to go, even if it’s only for a short time. Many mission hospitals provide the only modern medical care within hundreds of square miles; my wife Ruth’s father, Dr. L. Nelson Bell, served for 25 years in just such a facility. Often their greatest need is for more doctors and nurses. My son Franklin’s organization, Samaritan’s Purse, has arranged for hundreds of doctors to serve in mission hospitals through its World Medical Mission unit.
Will things be any different there once the visiting doctors return? Certainly it will be for the people they help — people who otherwise might have stayed sick, or even died. Visiting physicians also often help the permanent staff learn about the latest advances in medicine. In addition, I strongly suspect that these doctors will come back with a new understanding of what God is doing in the world, and a deeper commitment to missions.
Jesus healed many during His time here. But He didn’t heal everyone, nor did He banish all sickness and disease from the earth. Some day, He promised, this will happen, but in the meantime, you and I are called to do whatever we can to bring hope and healing in His name to those around us.