All laboratories that perform diagnostic blood work analysis must be licensed and certified by a professional organization that meets the federal standards for accreditation. At least once a year, these organizations will send check samples to the laboratories as part of the maintenance of requirements for quality assurance and control. The most common check samples are blood and urine samples that may be completely normal or have an abnormal level of a metabolite or blood chemistry. These samples are run on the same analyzers that the laboratory regularly uses to test all patient samples. Once a diagnosis is rendered, the result is submitted to the accrediting organization and graded for accuracy. If a laboratory fails to correctly diagnose the check sample, it may face disciplinary action or even lose their accreditation.
The caveat is the check samples are unknown to the bench technologists who usually perform the testings. Only the section supervisors or the laboratory director knows which samples are the unknowns. The samples are given a random patient’s name and demographic information and run through the analyzers as routine specimens. In this manner, a check sample should be treated as all other patient samples, presumably with the same careful attention that all specimens would receive and not be given preferential treatment if it was known it was a check sample test. The system works very well and check samples are considered a real world test of a laboratory’s quality and expertise.
If only our relationships reflected this same egalitarian approach. We should not treat anyone we meet or interact differently than anyone else. Yet we do, particularly with those whom we already know or is a known acquaintance of one of our friends or family. The challenge is when we meet complete strangers or are in circumstances that are unfamiliar to our sensibilities. We are cautious, sometimes even suspicious and it may be reflected in our behavior. Perhaps we would behave differently if we pondered the following Bible verse.
Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!
Hebrews 13:1-2 (NLT)
Angels are God’s messengers. They are created beings who serve God. There are numerous events recorded in the Bible when God sent angels to intervene in the lives of people or announce extraordinary events, such as the birth of Jesus Christ. There may be controversy over the role that angels play in the events of our lives but there is no question that they do walk amongst us. Wouldn’t it be thrilling to know that we have entertained an angel by showing hospitality to a stranger? If we knew they were angels, would we treat them differently? Like the check samples, God does not reveal the identity of the angels who come to us as strangers, asking us to treat all with the same grace and mercy that He shows to us.
Of course, we are to always exercise good judgment when meeting any stranger. Yet, it is comforting and encouraging to know that God does give us opportunities to serve angels. Mother Teresa of Calcutta movingly embodied this Bible verse with her life of devotion and service to the poor and forgotten. Not only did she treat all strangers as angels, she saw everyone as an embodiment of her Lord and Savior. “I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, ‘This is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him.’ I serve because I love Jesus.”
Perhaps God is sending a check sample in the form of a stranger to test you. Will you pass the test and care for the stranger in the same manner if you knew it was an angel sent by God?
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.