Who needs a doctor when you can have donuts?

Mark 2:13-17 

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” v.17

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A man recently moved into a new community. At one point he decided to look around for a clinic and a family doctor in case he ever needed medical attention. He was told there were three clinics in the town, so he visited each one to see which would best meet his needs.

The first clinic he came to had a quite impressive facility and appeared to have a highly trained staff. Upon entering he was surprised at the number of people in the waiting room. Talk about standing room only! The place was packed. At first he thought, “This must be an excellent clinic.” But as he observed the waiting room he began to feel a little uneasy. People kept coming up to him and telling him how glad they were to see him, offering him coffee and donuts, and inviting him to become a lifetime member. It seemed the patients were having a great time together, playing games, discussing medical insurance plans, and watching medical shows on the lobby television. Nurses and doctors were running to and fro trying to make sure everyone felt welcome. It was actually a fun place to be, but as he wandered around he noticed something. Nobody was being treated. They were just being entertained. So he decided to look elsewhere.

The next clinic was also impressive, in a different way. As the man drove into the parking lot he was blown away by the sheer beauty of the grounds. Deep green, manicured grass and trees lined the immaculate parking area. Even the white parking space lines seemed to have been painted with care. Walking inside he found the clinic was spotless. The staff walked around in masks, gloves, and head coverings. Janitors frantically sprayed disinfectant to prevent germs from growing. The walls were spotted with warnings against spreading germs. “Don’t touch”, “Cover your mouth and nose while inside building.” , “Please no shaking hands without gloves.” This clinic was obviously concerned for preventing illness. But then as he approached the receptionist he realized he was very much alone. The receptionist stared at him nervously, almost shocked that he was there. “Are-are you s-s-sick?” She whispered from behind her hand. She breathed a sigh of relief when the man assured her he was just visiting. She asked him to come again but please, “Next time, wear your gloves and mask.”  After spraying the desk in front of him with disinfectant, she smile nervously and hurried back to work on her computer. The man decided this place was probably a bit too clean for sick people, which was why he noticed there were plenty of staff , but no patients. So he moved on.

Coming to a third clinic, he felt a little more at ease than in the previous two. This one had a nice facility, though it wasn’t too impressive. The staff seemed capable and well-trained. Like the first one, it had quite a few patients in the lobby and they all seemed quite happy, smiling and laughing through their coughs and sneezes. People were friendly enough so he thought this would be a good choice. He walked up to the receptionist and asked to see the doctor. She and a few nurses standing with her chuckled politely and said, “Doctor? What doctor?” The man looked very confused and asked, “So you have no doctor?” The receptionist, in a slightly condescending tone explained; “Sir, we used to have a doctor back in the day, but he has retired and no longer practices medicine. ” Puzzled the man asked, “So why do you have a clinic?” Obviously surprised at this seemingly absurd question the receptionist answered,  “We’ve always had a clinic here. Listen, there may have been a time in the past when people came to clinics to get healed of some, ‘disease’ but we have moved beyond such notions. These people aren’t sick. They have simply chosen an alternative type of health. Just because they cough and sneeze, and even pass out occasionally, does not mean we should be all ‘healthy joe’ and try to change them. Here we believe the good doctor would have us simply embrace them and tell them they are healthy just the way they are. Besides all that medical stuff was for a former time. We just don’t do that anymore. But if you’d like to join one of our discussion groups I can sign you up.” “Discussion groups?” He asked? “Yes, we meet three times a week to discuss ancient medical practices, and to embrace our alternative health conditions.” –“Uh no thanks”, the man replied. Leaving the clinic, he felt pretty discouraged. Driving home he decided to give up looking for a clinic and just hope for the best. Marking that search off his to-do list he decided to look for a church. I wonder what he found.

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