**For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. ** Ecclesiastes 1:18
Have you ever watched one of those hospital shows? The ones that focus on the emergency room and how they handle every crisis? The ones where they see death everyday? The actors portraying medical workers and police officers dealing with some of the most violent and abusive situations that mankind can commit? And then there are the patients who are suffering greatly because of their own neglect?They didn’t take their medicine, or accept their diet limitations, or they let their condition get so bad that it is now untreatable? It makes me wonder how much sorrow the real medical workers deal with everyday.
I watched an old rerun of one of these shows the other day and it made me think of this verse from Ecclesiastes.
Solomon was given wisdom from God that impressed all of those people around him. It brought kings and queens from all over the world to meet him and to hear his wisdom. He had an amazing gift that helped him to see past the words and actions of others and find the truth.
The thing is that all that knowledge and wisdom also brought him pain and discouragement and disillusionment with the human race and with himself. He needed that wisdom to be able to rule over Israel well. But that same need brought too much of the world’s suffering into his own life.
I have heard that psychologists have the highest suicide rate of all professions. They spend every day listening to the heartaches of others and see that although they want to help them, they realize that all that they do for them has little impact. Their patients tend to stay trapped in their pain and never find a way out. Their patients fail to put their advice into practice so they continue to live a life of discouragement, anxiety and depression.
As I watched this emergency room episode, it made me think of life in ministry. Whether we work full-time in ministry or we are just trying to help a friend or family member get through a difficult season, we can become equally discouraged with the lack of progress the people we minister to make.
It is disheartening when we show someone the way out of their situation is by following the Lord’s plan and they reject that plan whether it be for salvation or for one of mankind’s many trials. They decide to do things their own way and their problem gets worse. Maybe they are “repeat offenders”, continually throwing themselves into the same situation and never seem to learn a better way or choose the Lord’s way out.
What I have learned over time is that we are just the Lord’s messengers. We are not responsible for what someone does with the advice we give them. Our job is to just show them the way. What they do with our advice is up to them. They can follow our advice and start to walk out of their problem, or they can reject it and add more fuel to their fiery trial. Ultimately, they are responsible for their own lives. All we can do is try to point them in the right direction.
LIke the medical workers in any emergency room, if I were a doctor and prescribed medicine for my patient’s illness, I wouldn’t be able to force them to take the medicine. It would be up to them to take it. They would have to be personally involved in getting better. I would only be able to show them how.
But, most of us are not medical workers. We are soul workers. We do not deal with the temporal body but the eternal soul of those around us. All we can do is offer them the cure-the spiritual medicine to heal their soul or to deal with their latest problem. It is not our job to hover over them and force them to take their medicine. All we can do is write the prescription.
It is hard to watch people walk away from the spiritual emergency room rejecting the very things that will heal them. But that is when we understand Solomon’s words a little better….
**For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. **
The more we see others reject the healing that the Lord offers, the more sorrow it gives us. Not because we have failed but because they are determined to find a different kind of medicine that will most likely kill them instead of heal them.
Wisdom=grief. Knowledge=sorrow. Unfortunately, they are our burden for being soul workers. In our next post, we will talk about the upside of being a spiritual doctor.