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18th July: Luke (3) -- Reliable Friend

Luke alone is with me. 2 Timothy 4:11

All three of Paul's references to Luke are in letters written from prison in Rome. But this is the most poignant of them. In the other letters Luke was mentioned as part of a group with the apostle. Now it is only Luke. For good or poor reasons, the others have all gone. Clearly Luke was not one to run out on his patients.

G B Caird, in his Pelican commentary on Luke's Gospel, has well said of Luke: 'He was more interested in people than in ideas. He had a lively social conscience and an inexhaustible sympathy for other people's troubles'. What a fine and challenging description of a doctor! Luke was like his Master, Jesus. And like his Master, he did not leave his patients at a time when he was most needed, even though things were awkward.

Do we know such times? When a patient is being particularly trying, but is really crying out silently but desperately for help? When there seems to be 'nothing more to be done' from a curative point of view for the dying patient -- who still needs help to cope, whether medical, psychological, spiritual or just personal? When a patient's relatives are sorely needing the support and understanding that may not seem to be 'part of our job'? What would Luke have done?

Lord, help us to be reliable and faithful to our
patients and to others who need us. Help us to
be willing to give our love as well as medicine,
to give ourselves as well as our skills.

Further reading: Acts 28:11-31.


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