“It’s Everyone Here!” (Luke 17:10)

Every year, I have the privilege to interview dozens of medical students seeking a dermatology residency. I serve as the director of dermatopathology and am one of the core faculty members for our dermatology residency program. The program is centered in a county hospital and primarily serves the poor. Thus, we are seeking residents who are equally committed to serving this population. The task that we as faculty face is how to discern the sincere motives of those seeking to serve the poor from those who are simply feeding us lip service. We ask a variety of questions that assist us in revealing true motives. While many rattle off pedantic examples of their volunteer experiences as evidence of their sincerity, one applicant surprised me with his answer when I asked, “Why do you want to train here?”


“A few months ago, I did a month long rotation in this dermatology department. I loved it.” I nodded to his usual platitudes. “I loved the dermatologists, but it’s not just them.” At that moment, he pointed outside the window to a group of physicians in white coats. “It’s everyone here!” I nodded, somewhat unsure of his focus. “I get the opportunity to work with others who are equally committed to helping the poor, the disenfranchised. Many are volunteering their time, there is no financial gain for them. They are simply seeking to serve. These patients have no money, there is nothing they can give us for their treatment. We are their last hope. This is pure medicine.”


Our souls connected.


“This is why I want to train here. I want to work with others who have the same motivation!”


Many of us give of our time and resources doing volunteer activities. How do we discern the true motives of our actions or those of others? Although certainly not an absolute litmus test, when financial gain, compensation or accolades are removed, when the recipients have no way to thank you for your services, our motives may become less about ourselves and truly focused upon others.


So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

Luke 17:10 (ESV)


In this parable, our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us about the sacrifice of service. If our sincere desire is to serve others, we no longer think about ourselves or the outcomes, we simply serve because it is our duty. It is a difficult lesson, one that I am still learning. The call to serve Jesus Christ is noble and not without cost. We may serve with little or no recognition from others. We may suffer persecution and even death. His promise to us? Salvation, eternal life and peace that surpasses all understanding.


What is our motivation to serve? If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you serve out of gratitude for what He has done for you. It is our duty and privilege to serve!


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.


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