Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hospital visits: my own dis-ease

If the truth be known, I don't like hospitals.

And no, it's not just that people die in them.

It's the fact -- and yes, it's really embarrassing to admit this . . . but it's the fact that hospitals are one of the few places where I regularly do ministry but I'm not in charge.

Or even all that important.

Hospitals are the kind of place, after all, where everybody on staff seems to have a well-defined job (and the uniform to prove it). Yes, you visit a hospital, and you see:
  • The cleaning staff all busily doing cleaning stuff.
  • The nursing staff all busily doing nursing stuff.
  • And the doctors all talking on their phones, negotiating with the insurance companies.
Meanwhile, I'm there to do . . . what? Pray, yes. Listen, yes. Assure the person there in that hospital bed that they've not been forgotten -- most assuredly.

And judging by the flak that comes my way when I don't visit church members in the hospital, then what I do must mean something to somebody!

But I still leave hospitals feeling like the triangle player in symphony orchestra: not unwelcome, just not all that important.

Maybe that's a good thing. If nothing else, it reminds me that others are doing the Lord's work (perhaps even more than me). And even if the small part I've been asked to play in someone's healing seems ill-defined (and even ineffectual), God still asks me to do it.

In short, hospitals remind me that ministry is not about me.

I hate that.

Then again, nobody ever said that healing would be pain-free.


Kevin A. said...

Pastor Greg,

Although this is not directly related to your blog post it is nice to see a pastor engaging people through the newest technologies. It was nice talking with you shortly at the mountain about blogs etc and I really enjoyed your talks and the stories/points you brought out over the weekend. Too bad your church is so far away, I wouldn't mind listening to you more often!

Ansku said...

Good insight here, Pastor Greg. As for me, I think one reason I enjoy hospital visits is the fact that there I am not in charge. :-) Thank you for making me realize that!