Overutilization (John 12:4-6)

Pathologists are the physician specialists that oversee the laboratory testing of blood and body fluids and surgical biopsies. A residency training of four to five years provides the knowledge and expertise to expertly and cost-effectively manage laboratory testing for all other physicians, patients, and healthcare facilities. For decades, no one questioned or intruded upon this relationship. By the 1970’s, this relationship began to change. Physicians, untrained in pathology, started their own laboratories and began ordering these laboratory tests, without the oversight of pathologists. Soon, test ordering for each medical and surgical subspecialty accelerated. It was a new revenue stream for these physicians and they were not going to miss the opportunity to capitalize on this opportunity.


Not surprisingly, critics and whistleblowers soon leveled charges of overutilization. Denials were issued from several physician professional organizations averring that the tests were necessary for patient care and the decisions to order the tests should be left with physicians, qualified to make these decisions, instead of bureaucrats and insurance companies. Eventually, the federal government stepped in and enacted stricter regulations and selectively limited the ordering of some tests. Nonetheless, the abuses continued. When we are left to police our own actions, it may be difficult to maintain an objective oversight. Compound this with a profit motive, and the effort may be further hampered, in spite of our best intentions.


But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.

John 12:4-6 (ESV)


Judas Iscariot was one of Jesus’ disciples and the keeper of the moneybag that supported their ministry. He was also a thief. Even living for three years with the Messiah, God Incarnate, was an insufficient deterrent for Judas to resist the temptation of stealing from the same treasury that was used to support his Master’s ministry.


Contrast Judas’ behavior with the tax collector, Zacchaeus. In Jesus’ day, tax collectors were viewed with disdain, traitors to their fellow Jews, branded as sell outs to the occupying Romans, for whom they collected taxes from their own kinsmen. The temptation to collect more than was legally required, to line their own pockets, was always present and nearly all tax collectors engaged in these shenanigans. Zacchaeus was not an exception. Yet, when confronted with the Absolute Goodness and Truth of Jesus Christ, he confessed his illegal actions and repented.


And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”

Luke 19:8 (ESV)


Two men, both in the presence of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. One succumbed to the temptation to steal and the other repented and atoned of his sins. It is a sobering reminder of how difficult is to be objective when easy money is involved.


Overutilization, lack of oversight, easy money. God knows and sees our true heart. We may attempt to hide our evil desires and sins, cloaking them in lofty and moral language or disguising them with noble motives, but God knows.


Confess and repent your sins to Jesus Christ and accept Him as your Lord and Savior. Let Him have oversight in your life and utilize you for His glory.


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


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