16 February 2020
The signs of importance
‘… whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant …’ Matthew 20: 26
A sign about stricter opening hours went up on our mission hospital’s office door, where I work with two others around my clinical duties. So many pressing tasks, so few people to do them! The new sign indicated that important matters would be neglected if people kept interrupting us. One day there
came an insistent knock at the office door. ‘Can’t they read the sign?’ I thought. ‘The office is closed.’ ‘It’s probably that drunk man,’ called the cashier. ‘He came earlier with a question about the death certificate.’ A little girl had died on the malnutrition ward, but with 150 inpatients and only two
doctors I could not identify her. Collecting my disgruntled thoughts I opened the door to the man and was pleased to be speaking so patiently.
‘Better come back and discuss your daughter’s death certificate when you’re not drunk,’ I ventured. ‘You’ve had too much to drink today.’ My visitor paused and looked at me. ‘It’s not easy when your daughter dies, you know, doctor.’ His words jarred me like cold water before he walked away, leaving me to the business which no longer seemed quite so important.
Afterwards I soberly reflected on how we confuse busy-ness, beauty, fame or wealth with importance. This girl had none of these things. She was important to her father simply because she was his daughter. Jesus comments on the two signs of our importance in his eyes: We are made in the image of our Father and we are loved by him. There are times when no one will appear to notice us – except our Father, because he loves us. These are the real signs of importance.
Read: Matthew 10: 29–33, 42.