Why Do You Want to Be a Physician?
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. James 3:13
Part of the application and acceptance process for medical school was the personal interview. During the interview, I sat before medical school faculty, being asked several questions. There were many questions of which I have no memory, but the one obligatory question that was surely presented to every applicant was, Why do you want to become a physician?
I answered something like, I want to be a physician to be of service to my fellow man, blah, blah, blah . . . I’m sure we all answered something similar. If I’d been completely honest though, I’d have had to admit that there was at least a small part of me that looked forward to the respect and money. I truly did desire to help others, but I certainly wasn’t ignorant of the status and compensation that came with the profession. What if though, at that interview, I’d have said, I’m just in this for the money and glory? I don’t care about people. I only want wealth and respect. That kind of answer would have revealed that I was in it for the wrong reasons and that I shouldn’t be allowed into medical school at all.
I find myself in a somewhat similar position when it comes to today’s passage. In it, James asked a rhetorical question. Who is wise and understanding among you? Well, I want to be wise. And why do I want to be wise? Part of me wants to be wise so that others will recognize how wise I am. I want to be the one people come to when they’re stumped. Ask Scott. He’ll know. That answer, according to James, reveals that I don’t have much wisdom and that I’m probably not deserving of it. James said those who have wisdom reveal it simply by humbly serving others. Those who are wise, by definition, aren’t self-seeking, but rather seek the good of those around them. Wisdom, according to James, isn’t knowing a bunch of stuff, but rather, humbly doing good for those whom God puts in my path.
We can’t simply decide to be wise today. We can, however, choose to be humble. We can choose to be kind. We can choose to serve others and to do good. Doing so may not bring us glory or status. It will, however, reveal that we’re beginning to truly understand wisdom.