I have a doctoral degree, but it’s not the kind that allows me to practice medicine. I worked four years for a Doctor of Theology degree at seminary. But I can’t write you a prescription with my degree. As one woman bluntly said, “You’re the kind of doctor that don’t do you no good.”
Although I’m not that other type of doctor, I do visit the sick in the hospitals frequently. I think I’ve learned enough about medicine to be dangerous if I were to give somebody medical advice.
The hospitals encourage ministers to wear a special badge with the hospital logo that looks just like the ones the doctors, nurses and other employees wear, except for the words “Visiting Clergy.” I rarely wear a coat and tie anymore to the hospital, especially since the hospital badge helps identify me as a minister.
But one day I was visiting the hospitals after coming from another meeting that required more formal attire. I knew that my church member was in a certain unit, but I didn’t know the room number. So I walked up to the counter, wearing my coat and tie and hospital nametag, and said, “I need to see so-and-so.” Without looking up, the nurse at the counter handed me the church member’s medical records.
Another nurse at the counter loudly proclaimed, “IT SAYS ‘VISITING CLERGY.’” That nurse jerked those medical records back so fast that I would have gotten paper burn if they’d been in my hands.
Many people put themselves in the hands of the wrong doctor. I’m not talking about medical records, I’m talking about your life. Jesus often healed the sick, and came with the purpose of healing the sin-sick. But many people go to the wrong doctor. They trust in good deeds to heal their sin. They trust in religion to heal their sin. They trust in false gods and false messiahs. Jesus himself warned against spiritual thieves and robbers who would try to steal your faith (John 10:1-12), and warned against false teachers who would claim to be the messiah but are not (Matthew 24:5).
Jesus Christ is the only one who was able to pay for your sin by his sacrificial death on the cross. And only Doctor Jesus can heal your soul. If you try somebody else, you’ll find that he or she will be the kind of doctor that “don’t do you no good.”
Copyright 2008 by Bob Rogers. Read this column each Thursday for a mix of religion and humor. For more “Holy Humor,” go to the Web page of First Baptist Church of Rincon at www.fbcrincon.com.