The Addicted Physician

The Addicted Physician

It is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2

The State, who bears the responsibility for licensing the practice of the physician, has an obligation to act in the best interest of the public, for whom the physician provides care. In the case of a physician who is impaired by an addiction, the State must sometimes step in, removing the physician from practice for the good of the patient –  until it can be determined if the physician is able to safely provide competent medical care. This unfortunately, is a process I know all too much about.

If a physician is addicted to alcohol or drugs, he (or she) is considered impaired, even if he never shows up intoxicated at work. He may have broken no law, but still, the physician is held to this elevated standard – he cannot be addicted and continue to practice medicine. The physician struggling with an addiction may find this unfair. I’m not hurting anyone! I only drink at home! The patient must have confidence however, that his or her provider isn’t intoxicated, hung over, or withdrawing while making potentially life-altering decisions. This is the standard that physicians are held to and it’s appropriate for the level of responsibility which they bear.

This is similar to Paul’s tone in today’s passage. In it, Paul refers to himself as a servant of Christ and a steward of the mysteries of God. As a spiritual leader, Paul said that he – and others like him – are held to a higher standard. Stewards must remain faithful to their master. If they follow anyone or anything other than the master, they’re deemed unfaithful and unfit for service. The steward cannot remain a steward while serving himself. This is the standard a Christian servant is held to, and it’s appropriate for the level of responsibility which they bear.

Often, in any position of leadership, it’s tempting, but phony, for the leader to tell others how to live rightly without living rightly himself. For instance, it’s hypocritical for an overweight, out-of-shape physician to tell his patient to lose weight. Likewise, it’s duplicitous for any spiritual leader to instruct others while he or she remains addicted to some secret sin. Unfortunately, we see this all too often when those whom we consider to be spiritual giants indulge some horrible, sinful, inappropriate behavior.

If we claim to believe in God, we must also serve him. We don’t have to be perfect to do so. We must, however, daily strive to remain faithful, following his interests instead of our own addictive, self-destructive appetites.


Authors Note: I’m not great at marketing to expand the reach of the blog. In the end though, it’s probably you, the reader, who has the greatest potential to spread the word. So, if you find the daily blog interesting or helpful, please help by telling a friend and/or sharing the daily post on social media. Thanks for reading and sharing!  -Scott

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