From a Creighton Student's Perspective
September 5, 2012
4th Year Medical Student
Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,
The first of my fourth year rotations this summer was a five-week medical service trip to the Dominican Republic where our multidisciplinary teams set up temporary clinics in the rural campos. As medical professionals visiting an impoverished area that lacks most medical care, our goals and confidence were prone to being lofty. For a time, I found myself focused on the number of patients seen, prescriptions filled and wounds tended as my measure of success. As we encountered various unforeseen challenges and setbacks, I grew disheartened with our inability to accomplish my proud, misguided goals.
It’s precisely these situations that Paul addresses in his first letter to the Corinthians. I was too focused on my goals and my successes. Paul reminds me that I, as the humble worker, am nothing. It is God, instead, who enacts the actual changes and real fruits of my labor.
It wasn’t until I took a step back to reassess my definition of success that I was content with our work. I had to realize that my part in Creighton’s entire Dominican health initiative was merely a grassroots, miniature role. Similarly, my work as God’s “co-worker” is that of a tiny cog in his immense plan (1 Cor. 3:9).
Sometimes I feel inadequate to contribute. Even now, in my fourth year of studying medicine, I do not possess Jesus’ ability to “rebuke fevers”. What I can do, however, is follow Simon’s mother’s example. Jesus just miraculously healed her and her response is not lavished or over-the-top. Rather, she simply and humbly waits on Jesus and his disciples. Is that not precisely what we’re called to do? Simply serve.
The work may not be glamorous. In fact, it probably won’t be. It will often be thankless. We are called to do it anyway.
“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”
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