Serving with the Simple Services
By David Campbell | December 05, 2017
by David Campbell, DDS
What an honor to serve the Lord through dental skills. The Lord came to earth with a message about His kingdom on earth. We have the privilege of carrying that message today. Encouraging the poor, sick and outcasts with hope for a new life here on earth that continues eternally. Why? Why use us? Is this a pyramid scheme that builds until it encompasses the earth? It is a scheme, but it should not be tainted in any way with the earthly, devious plans for commercial enterprises. The word scheme or plan might trivialize the grandness of the Lord’s intentions. This is the passion story. The ultimate story. Rick Donlon, MD, has declared all human plots and heroic themes to be micro-copies of the great overarching biblical teachings on how the Lord addresses our deepest needs. Our puny heroes and movie plots are mere faint copies of the greatest story and challenge ever created. Created by God for earth, and we are somehow players and active participants in this, the only real challenge the Lord has in creation’s purpose.
How do our dental skills engage this plot? Personal contacts, helping hands and good health services are all similar to Christ’s work on earth. Matthew 5 relays some initial communications of Christ in His mission. The enthusiasm for His mission came as He began to heal the multitudes. Word spread. The healing was miraculous and exciting and significantly changed lives. In today’s healthcare system, few professionals have the capability of providing 20-minute services that significantly relieve chronic conditions. With a mere extraction service, we imitate the Lord’s brief and significant miracles. We are not using miraculous powers, but we have our professional gifts to imitate immediate relief, just as Christ did with His touch.
Recently, a physician lamented her stifled role in the system. Overseeing physician assistant and medical assistant charts, scheduling, auditing and organizing took her away from the patients in good systems of allocation of resources. In dentistry, we have a much more flattened, cottage industry hierarchy in our profession. The worst conditions need significant and sympathetic communication as we deal with conscious patients, providing routine services to relieve chronic pain that may have been endured for years. She also provided the insightful comparison of dental extractions to podiatry treating nails and the removal of earwax as being similarly miraculous to dentistry, or perhaps even more closely similar to the Lord's chosen actual healing services of restoring mobility, sight and sound. Yet, we have the privilege of addressing an epidemic of need. We know we are making progress in reducing the epidemic of dental disease among our poor, yet it’s still there. Our homeless clinic provides hundreds of extractions and about 50 dentures every month. It’s a privilege. We receive such thanks and gratitude for the huge changes these provide for patients, some who have not had their full smiles for over a decade.
It's not glamorous dentistry, but it's a privilege to be a part of the mission work. I find it extremely rewarding. Wherever you are called to serve, I would encourage you to find an opportunity to serve the least with some of the simplest services. Often these services provide the greatest change in the lives of these patients.
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