Why Is This Here? (John 12:6)

Many years ago when I was on staff at a hospital, a supervisor within one of the sections in the laboratory was fired. He was a hospital employee for fifteen years and his desk was evidence of his long tenure, covered in pathology reports, microscope slides, and a mixture of candy wrappers, empty soda cans, and coffee-stained mugs. His replacement was tasked with cleaning out the area after he left. A few days later, this new supervisor came to my office and updated me on his activities.


“Ugh! It was disgusting!” he began. “The years of filth were bad enough but as I dug through the mess, I discovered consult cases sent to us from several years ago. I called another supervisor over and she asked me, ‘Why is this here?’ ”


I gritted my teeth. “So you found old consult cases that should have been returned to the contributing physician or hospital?”


“Yes. We even found tissue blocks with no identification. We are in damage control, attempting to contact the hospitals and physician offices that have sent us these consult cases.”


Microscope slides and tissue blocks are a permanent part of the patient’s medical-legal record, like x-rays or a physician’s notes. Fifteen years of increasing negligence. For years, the laboratory and hospital administration considered him to be an excellent supervisor but recent changes in the hospital workflow exposed serious gaps in his knowledge base and performance. Over the course of a few months, his performance worsened leading to his termination. While this termination was painful for the laboratory employees, many of whom were friends with him, no one expected to find this level of gross negligence.


I have seen this scenario repeated in other work environments. Employees grow comfortable in their positions and create an insulated environment. They are astute enough to know just the minimum amount of work that needs to be done to adequately complete their job, to the satisfaction of their co-workers and supervisors. As time passes, mistakes are covered up or shuffled around and they have convinced themselves that what they are doing is acceptable or conveniently blame others. It is only when they leave or are fired that their errors are discovered. Terminated billing managers leaving behind files filled with uncashed patient check payments; stories of profanity-laced rants directed at one’s employer or co-workers; workstations filled with evidence of personal internet browsing; all of these and worse have been uncovered.


It is not only in our work environment. We may grow complacent in our spiritual lives as well. We may feel we are insulated and secure in our relationship with God, leading to a lackadaisical or entitled attitude. It may begin slowly but over time, lapses in our spiritual discipline may lead to the acceptance of heretical ideas and the perpetration of sinful deeds.


Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.

John 12:6 (NLT)


Perhaps this is what happened to Judas. Jesus placed him in charge of the money for His disciples. Even though John wrote this verse in his Gospel many years after the recorded incident, The Bible does not reveal when he and the other disciples discovered that Judas was stealing their money. Although speculative, I doubt that he was a thief from the beginning. It probably began slowly, a few coins here and there, nothing that would be noticed by the other disciples. When Judas betrayed Jesus and his true nature was revealed, the disciples investigated further and discovered the extent of his clandestine activities.


It is unfortunate that only with the departure or termination of some people is the depth and gravity of their hidden sins revealed. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you must honestly review all of your actions and activities and present them to Him. It is not your employer or co-workers that you must please. You must always answer to God. This is why you are here, to live a life that honors Him by obeying His Word, not to make excuses, or to live an entitled life.


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


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