Every doctor—it does not matter where they graduate from—must take an oath before they launch into their medical profession. It is called Hippocratic Oath, named after Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine.” I found this interesting because even in my fields of psychology and theology, no such oath is required. What makes it more interesting is that Hippocrates was born in 460 BC, which means doctors all over the world have faithfully observed this tradition for around 2,500 years. So much respect for the man, and so much respect for the profession of curing illness and saving lives.
There are five oaths; let me just zero in on the second one, “That I will lead my life and practice my art in uprightness and honor.” By making this a part of the oath, Hippocrates meant to say that who we are and what we do are inseparable—that one is an extension of the other. What we do is the extension of what we are and what we are is the extension of what we do. And what we are and what we do are to be the embodiment of uprightness and honor. We are not all doctors, but this oath is to be ours as well. What we do and who we are should be the embodiment of uprightness and honor.
One such man is John Fawcett, an 18th century English minister. At age 26, he was ordained and soon began pastoring a small Baptist church in Yorkshire. Seven years into ministry, he was called to be a pastor of a famous Baptist church in London, which he accepted. But on the last day he changed his mind; he could not bear to see the love and the tears of his people. Within a week of that pivotal decision, he wrote, “Blest Be the Tie That Binds,” a hymn that has become a beloved of many. He stayed in Yorkshire till he died at age 78. He refused more lucrative offers and settled for less, but along the way he gained more uprightness and honor.