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Berenice Cheng


Berenice Cheng

Dentist based in Melbourne, Australia



  • December 7, 2014
    7:15 AM
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But the question that I had to ask myself as a very young doctor and as a young Christian is always Is that enough to want to be the best medical missionary for the purpose of leading others to Christ is it enough. We are here essentially at this weekend because we believe that we want to be the health professional that makes a difference that is different that shows a different side of patient care to whoever we come in contact with. But it is odd that Jesus would respond to such a request of such a question as the rich young ruler posed in the way that he did and they are questions that I was grappling with as I started my career. And indeed I hope I grapple with it as I continue on and I want to pick up in verse seventeen. Sorry Beth eighteen and investigating Jesus says Why call it down me good. There is none good but one and that is God. Now the story goes that Jesus Jesus is one of those people that almost you know those people. A question for the question and you know feel like it's satisfying it's not a satisfying answer but he asks this rhetorical question of the rich and young ruler and he says why do you call me good. In other words what is it about me that you think is good. The pen of inspiration desire of ages tells us this ruler had a high estimate of his own righteousness he did not really suppose that he actually had lacked anything but he was not altogether satisfied. But what was it about Jesus that he thought was good. What did he feel that Jesus could offer him spiritually that he had not already experience. He was offend Hedron in training basically a Pharisee to be he was one of the young stars to watch almost in the Times of Israel was his greeting to Jesus was his question and mere finned a mere formality in the air. A polite greeting or did he really really know what he was asking for. So the same question could be said of me what is it about Jesus's role in my ministry as a dentist as a Christian that I actually feel is good. You know when I at one stage I was I went to the purser's of interviewing for medical schools and when you prepare for medical school interviews one piece of advice they usually give you is if you should ever be asked the question why do you want to be a doctor. Try your best not to say to help people and it's not because they don't think you want to help people but it's just because everyone fence them and it loses its meaning when you just say you want to help people is it that we really desire to be a blessing to others to alleviate their suffering to show them Christian kindness. Or is it something more. Now these things are by no means insignificant because Jesus then goes on to lift a list of commandments that relate to the way this rich young ruler was to relate to them around him his neighbors and indeed we know from Romans that these commandments particularly relate to the way we love those around us and our relationship with our neighbors friends strangers those that people have placed in our case that Jesus has placed in our care. So the command to love our neighbors as ourselves to bless other people to be able to alleviate their physical suffering is by no means insignificant. But I had to think to myself there are many many non-Christian professionals health professionals that could do the same thing. That could alleviate suffering that could be kind that could be compassionate that could be generous to those around them so what makes us different. What makes me different and Jesus's answer is so clear. So on and they give us this twenty one itself then Jesus beholding him loved him. And then on to him one thing lack of Gotye way whatsoever that hast and give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven and come take up the cross and follow me. One thing lacking it and I was starting my career and I was thinking the girl writes No more advanced. Finally don't have to pay any school fees. Life is looking up that it's a stark reality to realize that Jesus is telling me especially at the prime of my life you lack one thing probably more than one thing but especially one thing you lack one thing desire they just said. Ridhima longs to create in him that December which would enable him to see the necessity of hot devotion and Christian goodness and he would place and self under the guidance of Christ he would be a power for good so he possessed qualifications which if he were united with the Savior would enable him to become a divine force among them. So Jesus essentially prevented this rich young ruler with a choice and he said heavenly treasure which would be eternal life or worldly is deemed if he were to follow Jesus he would have to forego all the worldly ambition and promise that awaited him in the Sanhedrin. But again to keep back a little or much from God was to retain that which would lessen his moral strength and efficiency. For if the things of this world are cherished they will become all absorbing these words struck me struck me so hard as I was reading them and thinking about how they relate to my career in the way that I conduct myself as I was reading this story I was struck with the contrast of that of Zacchaeus and we all know Zacchaeus I particularly relate to that he is. Because we're both a little bit vertically challenged but that he is similarly a man with a promising career he was also very rich and Luke nineteen if we could turn briefly to Luke nineteen tells the story of how that he is going about his business and then Jesus comes into his definity or comes into the neighborhood one day and tells of his encounter he climbs up into the tree etc etc But the turning point for him really came in verse five and then three from there five and it says and when Jesus came to the place he looked up and saw him and said unto him Vicki Yes Make haste and come down for today I must divide it by half and he made haste and came down and received him joyfully and when they saw it they ALL moment saying that he was going to be a guest with a man that is a sinner and they stood in fit into the Lord behold Lord the half of my goods I give to the poor and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation I restore him fourfold and Jesus said to him this day if elevation come to his house for so much as he is also a son of Abraham for the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. So contrast it to the rich young ruler Zacchaeus was also confronted with a situation where he had to choose between worldly treasure or worldly esteem and heavenly treasure which was eternal life. In contrast to the rich young ruler though he had an experience with Jesus he felt his love. He felt his kindness he felt his forgiveness and the restitution the renunciation of worldly possessions that followed was a mere consequence of his experience and his love for Jesus. He wanted to know the world and he wanted the world to know that he had been changed and his actions his restitution held the principle that is said in Psalms one hundred and one hundred seven best to let the Redeem. End of the Lord face up the key is I was reading and he was saying. So in doing so and I was struck with these two stories and I thought to myself which of these and why and why the rich young ruler or life are key and what is my experience with Jesus and what is your experience that you and I read again and it said only one thing he lacked desire of ages but that was a vital principle he needed the love of God in the soul and I said before our theme for this weekend of bended knee to bend. Side we want to be praying doctors we want to be urban vessels for Jesus to pour through to our patient we want to be the best doctors to make sure that we give out patient the best care we can that's all important but could it be that I have been tending it. Experience is exactly that that we are only as good a doctor as we are a Christian. Before eternal life before blessing before any service that the rich young ruler hope to offer came the question what good do you see in God What is your personal testimony of his goodness. Do you have a daily experience with him how much do you love him. What can you share your experience with others and if we lack if I lack the spiritual depth or if we yearn for a deeper experience of Jesus to be able to bring to our bedside then Jesus the master healer has this recipe for us and that is so simple it is the best of my block ten as twenty one that we read before and the three stages that he outlines for us the first is to go die away. Phillip what whatsoever thou hast this may be material wealth but more personally perhaps it for us in the industry where we pride ourselves on a culture of lifelong learning IME and that faith that involves advance but we all love to learn for life. It's faith also of the wealth of knowledge that we as doctors health professionals are seemingly always seeking to conquer because there's always something more to learn. There's always more to do in your career. There's always more to more accolades to chase the rich young ruler had earthly possessions that he was urged to use in the support of God's Corps but perhaps the crux of the matter for him was not so much giving up these treasures of his riches but more the donation of his heart. The only reason his possessions were an issue were because they were a liability they were a constant reminder of his allegiance to his current life and true discipleship to him would involve require a state of no strings attached almost where he had no attachment to his previous life. So where your heart your treasure is there your heart is also. Matthew six twenty for the rich young ruler was a possession to which he was interested which was his talent his riches also more his talents his youth his energy his love for Jesus and God And similarly in trust with means talents opportunities that we may be his agent in helping the poor and suffering. He uses those whom He has entrusted to give as God designed to become a co-worker with the savior he win souls to Christ because he becomes a representative of his character. I I was born into an extended family that has acquired a large medical background and my median family in my immediate family my brother is also a doctor but my parents are not specifically in the medical field but further abroad I have many cousins and uncles and aunties that are similarly in the medical field. Growing up I had an interest in pediatrics family expectations and side medicine is. Really the only thing I ever imagined myself doing only because I was so familiar with it I was always surrounded by it I knew what it looks like I knew the training pathways I knew what you needed to do I knew how hard you needed to study. I knew the lifestyle sacrifices that you had to make. Interestingly my immediate family out of our entire extended family was the only one that converted to Adventism and we did that through the New START program when I was still very young living in fear of war and so we firmly believe in the health message. But any illusions of prestige or status associated with pursuing a medical or health care Kerry really lost on me because it was somewhat the norm in the family. I had I have rather I should say older cousins that neurology consultants before they turned thirty they had government scholarships to do fellowships for Neurology in Mayo in Rochester I have another cousin who finishes an ascetic training at a very young age and just. Can't just pass the time in theater he decided to do it all via correspondence so to do to confuse or academia or to become a doctor was was no spectacular achievement but what really appealed to me was more the challenge that the life involved or the lifestyle involved. By nature I realized that I was a fairly ambitious person not that I liked to compete with others and rather I would actually shy away from competing with others but I loved to challenge myself to know that I was doing new things all the time to know that I was having new experiences and that was what I needed to feel fulfilled. I love the diversity of medicine I in my limited understanding of the field at the time I thought it would be fun to be working with kids all the time every day all day and in an environment where people enjoy challenging themselves and my fellow doctors just wanted to be better at what they did all the time. Now I realize now in retrospect that I was a little bit naive and there are politics involved in every field but that was what I that was what I imagined in my mind. I love the fast pace. I love that there was a prescribed Korea training path and you just kind of needed to do what you needed to do. Well the necessarily easy but it was straightforward to get where I wanted to be. More importantly growing up in this family environment that I did I loved that the way to integrate medicine with ministry was somewhat straightforward in the sense that the avenues for holistic medicine the way that you introduced lifestyle concepts the way that you lead people to health to church was something that I'd grown up with and in fact we had a first hand experience with as a family. I had it all worked out in my mind and some people look at me and say hang on what you know of the doctor now you're a dentist. When when I finished high school and prayed a lot I was I was very blessed to finish high school very comfortably and I applied to as as kids do these days they apply to every med school in Australia and there aren't that many so you just apply to all and you hope for the best. And it turned out that not by any strength of my own I had full scholarships to enter every single university for medicine except for the one in Melbourne that was undergraduate. So there are two medical schools in metropolitan old now there's the University of Melbourne and then Monash University and some other post grad schools around around the state. But I had all of his sorry I had office to all the schools around this area with full academic scholarships except for Monash and some people look to me and they're like Well that's simple you just move when you go to medical school and then you come back it's no brainer. Interestingly. And the tradition is really that nowadays if you're applying for health science courses like medicine because of the competition and that she usually leaves some other options but you don't really think oh you hope that you won't need to use those options and so that the most common combination is usually something like medicine pharmacy little dentistry physio therapy something like that and you listen in in an order that suits you and so I put dentistry and therefore for peace of mind I guess just to fill up the thought of they had twelve spots to fill out so I did that I never imagined dentistry is the last I never imagined that I would be working with teeth all day. I had no feelings towards me if I was passionate about it. I have colleagues that grew up in dental families and they could talk and wax lyrical about teeth all day and that just wasn't my thing. I was faced with the prospect of moving interstate for ministry Asari for studies or to stay at home and that would be where I could serve best in my local church where I could grow where I could continue to serve in various different things I was involved in at the time for example of a wifey convent and so on and so forth. Those are faced with the prospect of a very long training pathway in that if invested quite a short one in dentistry and what that would mean for my life down my ability is after graduation. But Jesus when he outlined the second step to give to the poor made me realize that I am choosing to become a health care professional to meet physical suffering yes but only so that I can be sensitive to spiritual suffering. So am I sensitive to people that have spiritual needs that are poor in spirit spiritually and I sensitive to those that Jesus places in my pathway in my local church that aren't necessarily my patients and I always at work and I always training. Such that I am not able to meet these needs. Well I spend my whole life in my career. But you said to come take up his cross and follow me and for me this has been a journey of an interesting twelve month and I know I'm running out of time so I'm going to try and shorten it. But it's ironic that I would stand up at a semi-professional conference today and tell you that in all honesty when I started my career and had still a few months into it I didn't have very much of an idea of what industry involved at all as I said you know I was just surrounded by with medical all the time that I really didn't know what it would look like to be a committed Christian who was a good accomplished developing ambitious dentist. What would that look like I've never seen one of those I never met one of those before. As I graduated I probably graduated at one of the trickiest times for dentistry economically in Australia and particularly in Victoria where there are a lot of there are two dental schools in it in a very small state and a lot of dentists and feel is incredibly hard for me to find a job that did not involve Sabbath because Sabbath morning work is an industry norm that I did not fully realize until I graduated and as a young graduate you're really not in a position to pick and choose but many many employee employers rather would want you to do Sabbath mornings to be able to build up your books because that's when you see emergency that's when you see more cases and that's how you build up your own clientele. But I made a decision very early on that I would not work on the Sabbath and so I was faced with the position with the situation where I really had very limited jobs to choose from and I was very blessed and God gave me a job in the rural bath Coast region so sakit plant in Melbourne. And this job was a Monday to Friday type job. However I still had the struggles of all the dental C.P.D. being on the other and so continuing professional development and who of course is that sort of stuff and I had it I had this ambition to be able to. OK well if I'm not in the job that I want at least let me learn so that I can continue to grow. But that was not the case and that was not what God had planned for me after a while I decided to move back to metropolitan Melbourne because I realized that yes while I could come back to Melbourne on the weekends still be involved in ministry on Friday Saturday and so forth. Would it mean very much if I was a nominal Christian to attend church on the weekend but not be there during the week to be able to invest in people's lives the people that I was meeting the people that I was communicating with wouldn't mean very much of as a dental professional I gave the token health talk once a year or twice a year or whatever but then the follow up was left to someone else. What type of The Christian would I be would I be a Christian or a dentist. So I moved back to metropolitan Melbourne and and the job situation was even scarier. As a new graduate you go through the list of jobs and probably one out of twenty one graduates are able to apply open to graduate and so on and so forth and out of those probably one out of twenty will say that there are no further than I was involved. So right now I'm in a job in the outer metropolitan region of Melbourne but I still find that there are challenges in terms of mentorship in terms of growth in terms of the ability for me to fit in my career but the question comes again do I love cheese. Do I have the love of Jesus too I love Jesus in spite of circumstances do I see God as a transactional God the God I've done this I've kept in feathered have been diligent in my studies and doing this for the good of others I know I'm not chasing fame and fortune. Why have you not less to me. Do I feel God is one that should bless me no. When I see fit. Or am I faithful despite it. Do I love a Jesus that I would give anything for that I would share with others all day every day that I would that I would forego any career advancement at this stage in the way that I imagined I think if not out of disrespect for dentists and doctors My brother is a doctor I have the utmost respect for what he does and many of my spiritual mentors are respected most are doctors. I feel the way that they balance their life the church planting their personal ministry said Bible studies their family ministering to others and their career and it tells me how they would treat their patients I don't need to be their patient to know that I want to thank the Amen board specifically for intentionally investing in young doctors and young dentist because when I look outside I feel accolades ifi ambition I see I see achievement I see affluence but when I look at the way that some of you and some of you have known for longer personally the way that you make your professional choices are made the way that you're faithful as a Christian I see Jesus. And as health professionals now I can find included in a same thing I want I want to encourage us to consider not only the young doctors and dentists that are here today but those that aren't and in the church there are a wealth of young people that are training in medical pharmacy physiology dentistry whatever you want to consider but they are not necessarily here because they see the contrast they see the contrast of ambition and accolades but will it be said of our lives. Will it be said about faithfulness not only in our careers in a medical ministry but also in our local church ministry that they can see Chief can they see Jesus in the way we are faithful. I know I am over time but I just wanted to share this in closing with you I currently have a fifty kilometer. One way commute to work every day so it's a little bit of a drive that in that time I'm using that time to cultivate my relationship with Jesus and I'm praying every day for my patience for my colleagues and so on and so forth and there is a song that I play in my car and the words just struck me if I was preparing for this and if if teach me father what to say teach me father how to pray. Teach me all along the way how to be like Jesus. Teach me as the days go by. Teach me not to reason why teach me Got To Do And Die is to be like Jesus I would be like Jesus I would be like Jesus help me Lord to daily grow more and more like children. This media was brought to you by an audio purse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about us if you would like to listen to more sort of the lead to visit W W W R U. verse dot org.


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