Here’s the billboard that grabs my attention every time I’m at the traffic light on Glenwood Avenue and Route 224. You can’t tell from my amateur photo, but a number lights up in that blank spot to advertise the average time a guest to Northside Hospital’s Emergency Room has to wait to be seen by a medical professional.
What a brilliant idea! Even though that facility is miles from my home, I’m still interested in the billboard because I’ve done the parent thing; hanging out in ER waiting rooms for hours with a sick or injured child. In those situations, it’s hard not to speculate on why it takes so long.
Whenever we finally get to see the doc, he or she spends a few minutes with us. If there are only a handful of people waiting, why does it take three hours for someone who’s a professional to make it around to us? Don’t they know what it’s like to have sick kids as well as bored ones? Besides, isn’t it called the Emergency Room? The name of the place indicates that someone needs attention quickly, doesn’t it?
So I can’t help but imagine them sitting in the Doctors’ lounge having a few brewskies while playing cards or watching the game. And, they get paid a few hundred dollars in the process! Maybe they make us wait to get our money’s worth. It must be easier to charge $700 for three hours than it does for 30 minutes.
Okay, I’m sure the hospital staff are working hard, but your mind takes you places when you’re stressed. Despite the reasons, the trauma for parents in those situations is real. Kudos to Northside. I have a need and they picked up on it so they’ve earned my attention and my business if ever one of my kids gets injured while we’re up that way.
Jesus did the same thing. He didn’t have a waiting room because he didn’t need one. What I’m referring to is his knowledge of what people needed and his desire to do something about it. He could calm storms and feed lots of hungry people, but he didn’t insist on doing those things when a bleeding woman or blind man was in front of him. He gave them what they needed.
So, what is your church doing for your community? If people aren’t interested in your programs than you’re either not doing them well or you’re not offering something that they really need. An after school program in a retirement community would be stupid, and it would show that you haven’t taken the time to relate to the needs of those around you like Jesus did.
Hard work isn’t the only thing Jesus is interested in. He was motivated by compassion – the emotion that results from relating with people around you in their suffering. Do that and there’s a much better chance that they’ll hang around for whatever else you have to share with them.
Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. (Mark 1:41-42, NLT)