President’s Perspective: Church – A Hospital for Sinners

President’s Perspective: Church – A Hospital for Sinners

Part of my pastoral ministry is to visit people in hospitals and nursing homes. Whenever I am aware of such need, I am willing to spend time with our members, family, and even people I don’t know. I usually read the Scripture and pray for comfort, peace, and a fast recovery. Often in my prayers, I include the medical staff and the other patients or residents. Even those I don’t know, I want everyone to recover and have a normal existence in their homes, surrounded by family and friends.

As an Registered Nurse, my wife can certify that the primary purpose of the hospital and the medical act is to do everything humanly possible for a fast and complete recovery of their patients. They use their knowledge, skills, and mostly, their dedication to their profession and love for people to fulfill their mission.

Since my childhood, I heard the metaphor that the church is not “a museum of saints but a hospital for sinners,” based on Jesus affirmation from Luke 4:18:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me to
Preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives and
Recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;”

Furthermore, Jesus reiterated His life and ministry’s goal in Luke 5:31-32: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

In these two passages, Jesus wanted to make it evident that the primary purpose of His mission on earth was to invite those aware of their sinfulness and offer them the chance of complete emotional and spiritual restoration. He spent most of His active time serving and meeting people’s needs, making sure everyone who wanted His healing received God’s blessings for them and their beloved ones.

He also instructed His “medical staff” to minister to those hurting and suffering under the tyranny Satan. Matthew 10:6-8 is one of the most powerful pieces of evidence: “Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.”

Evidently, besides worshipping God corporately weekly, the main focus of our ministry is to be Jesus’s “physicians and nurses,” always ready to go the extra mile to fulfill His mission. We are called to love, have mercy, and minister to everyone we contact, letting them know that our church is always open for them before they change their thinking and lifestyle.

We have to prioritize people’s needs for physical, emotional, and spiritual restoration. Some may not respond promptly to the “medication” God Himself administers. Others may be “chronic” sinners, and they may not be the best candidates for a fast and complete recovery. But we need to remember we are called to love and serve our brothers and sisters in Christ no matter how they manage thespiritual instructions for their recovery.

The Adventist church has to be part of God’s Spiritual Health Care Network. We are to encourage and edify one another, care for one another’s needs, and pray for one another. Apostle Paul says: “You who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness” (Gal. 6:1). There is no place for a judgmental spirit, criticism, or gossip. There is no place for someone to be hurt in the church.

Remember, the church is a spiritual hospital where even the medical staff suffers from various “diseases” and need the healing of the Savior. We need to manifest grace, empathy, and patience to our fellow recipients of God’s grace.

Titus Naftanaila, President