Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A young rich man

Mark 10:17-31 (ESV):
And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth." And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God." Peter began to say to him, "See, we have left everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
According to Dr James Le Fanu in The Rise & Fall of Modern Medicine:
Lord Horder symbolised the pinnacle of achievement on which every consultant [American: attending physician] in London aspired. He was wealthy and stylish, turning up at St Barts [St Bartholomew's Hospital] in his Rolls-Royce and sporting a top hat. 'Tommy [Horder] was certainly the greatest clinician of his day, based on vast experience and shrewd judgement. His short squat figure exuded wisdom and humanity.' Born the son of a Dorset draper, his reward for winning every prize at medical school was to be appointed for his first job as the house doctor to Samuel Gee, physician to the Royal Household, whose patronage rapidly propelled the young Horder into the most influential of circles.

Horder's private practice read like a Who's Who of the times. It included three Prime Ministers -- Andrew Bonar Law, Ramsay MacDonald and Neville Chamberlain; writers -- Sir James Barrie, Somerset Maugham, Rebecca West and H.G. Wells; and musicians -- Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir Malcom Sargeant, Sir Henry Wood. And in time he succeeded Samuel Gee as physician to the Royal Household, becoming medical adviser to first King Edward VII, then George V, Edward VIII, George VI and finally Queen Elizabeth II.

Tommy Horder's success was well deserved. He was very good at what he did which, in the era before sophisticated medical investigations, was making an accurate diagnosis, relying almost exclusively on what are known as 'clinical methods', the ability to infer what is amiss from the patient's history and physical signs elicited at examination. This was traditional doctoring, unencumbered by the trappings of technology, and its essential feature was the human relationship between doctor and patient.
According to Sir Fred Catherwood:
Martyn [Lloyd-Jones]'s career was medicine. He went from school to Barts, one of the great London teaching hospitals, and was brilliantly successful. He succeeded in his exams so young that he had to wait to take his MD, by which time he was already chief clinical assistant to Sir Thomas Horder, one of the best and most famous doctors of the day. By the age of 26 he also had his MRCP and was well up the rungs of the Harley Street ladder, with a brilliant and lucrative career in front of him. Then something happened.

Slowly, reading for himself, his mind was gripped by the Christian gospel, its compelling power and its balanced logic, like the majestic self-supporting arches of a great cathedral. He had no dramatic crisis of conversion, but there came a point when he had committed himself entirely to the Christian gospel. After that, as he sat in the consulting room, listening to the symptoms of those who came to see him, he realised that what so many of his patients needed was not ordinary medicine, but the gospel he had discovered for himself. He could deal with the symptoms, but the worry, the tension, the obsessions could only be dealt with by the power of Christian conversion. Increasingly he felt that the best way to use his life and talents was to preach that gospel.
In 1927, Lloyd-Jones left medicine to become the minister of a small Presbyterian church in Aberavon, South Wales named the Bethlehem Forward Movement Church ("Sandfields"), mainly among the working class.

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