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Plans, Protocols and...

By Steve Cartin, MDiv | June 20, 2017

by Steve Cartin, MDiv

Dentistry lends itself to protocols and planning. At least it seems that way. Dr. Smith plans his schedule by defining his ideal day as a template for front office staff. Doing so allows him to be more efficient with his time, see more patients and deliver more dentistry. A haphazard schedule only invites frustration and ineffectiveness.

Dr. Harris establishes a well thought-out protocol for her New Patient Experience. No detail goes unnoticed. Not only does she want to turn her new patients into long-term, raving fans, it’s important they move forward with treatment. After all, she has $24,000 invested in an eight-month marketing campaign.

In 30 years of ministry combined with business activity I have often heard God’s Word interpreted through the lens of “business savvy” or the good ol’ Protestant work ethic. Shouldn’t it have been the other way around? In seminary, we were told that confusing the two is most always a problem of eisegesis. As opposed to exegesis where the meaning is taken from the text, eisegesis is a process whereby one introduces his own presuppositions, agendas or biases into and onto the text. And that leads us to…

The more passionate we are about anything sacred or secular, the more susceptible we become to finding multiple passages to found our passion upon the eternal. When it comes to work—particularly to planning and setting things in order—we or others are prone to enlist Luke to quote Jesus on our behalf: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it…” (Luke 14:28, NKJV).

But the context of Jesus’ example from industry is clearly meant as a parable to explain a truth about the kingdom, not the other way around. All too often we confuse the two. And we must be careful to let God’s Word inform us rather than us inform His Word. A.W. Tozer reminds us that, “God’s words are not for me to edit or tinker with but to believe and obey.”

How about one more “P”?

One can’t help but find principle upon principle for life, work, family or faith as the various Proverbs are read. And speaking of a principle from Proverbs about planning, it really does come down to this: “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3, ESV).

Behind all our plans and protocols, we must ask, “Have I committed my work to the Lord?” The most excellently-templated schedule will come to nothing eternal if it is not committed to the Lord. The most outstanding experience for new patients will not display goodness and grace if not committed to the Lord.

Committing our work to the Lord may begin with a morning prayer for guidance, but it flows throughout our entire day, “...bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NKJV). It allows us to turn our ideal schedule into a tool for serving others in Christ’s name. And it empowers us to honor a new patient as someone made “...a little lower than the angels...” (Psalm 8:5, NKJV). 

Serving others in Christ’s name.

Honoring others as made in the image of God.

Those are great first steps in having our plans established.

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