Sunday, July 13, 2008

The art of practicing surgery or Sunday school

In a few days I am going to have surgery under a general anesthesia. I certainly hope that the surgeon studied hard in medical school and worked on the cutting and suture techniques that will be needed to open and close the wound. The surgeon and the anesthesiologist will have my life literally in my hands when they administer powerful drugs to render me unconscious while the surgery is performed and at the same time make sure all my vital body functions are still carrying on. It is assumed that to maintain their licenses to practice medicine that they must go to training seminars and be briefed and updated on a regular basis on the latest, best practices in their special fields. Myself, the patient, would of course, be the beneficiary of all this training and knowledge, my chances of a successful outcome greatly enhanced. I certainly do not want a mediocre surgeon or anesthesiologist! Nor would the physician want a malpractice suit for practicing sloppy medicine!

Yet as Sunday school teachers we are not required to attend any kind of bible study or retreat to keep our minds sharp scripturally. Once pastors have finished their seminary training or licensing school they are on their own as far as continuing education as well. Knowledge workers: Doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, dentists, therapists, counselors, teachers, pharmacists, are required by their professions to attend continuing education every so many years. It seems to make sense that it should be so for those who work for God. Shouldn't we give our utmost for him? Sometimes what passes for ministry, whether it be music, pulpit, ministry or christian education is mediocre at best because the time isn't put into the practice, study of best practices and preparation. Each one of us is responsible to study and practice to bring into quality the gifts we have been given. It is a discipline and a sacred responsibility. The apostle Paul talks about pressing on to the higher calling. Paul sets a pretty good example. He was never satisfied, never thought that he had attained, or had it made but was always moving forward. We all need to follow that example and keep pressing on. It beats being mediocre like the church in Laodicea, was that God's version of a malpractice suit?