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Speaking in Stories
Stories for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers


Dr. Green's Final Prescription

Like millions of other Americans, I was a fan of the long-running television show, ER. This engaging medical drama told the story of the staff and patients at the emergency room of a fictitious hospital in Chicago. My favorite ER character was Dr. Mark Green, played by Anthony Edwards. In the show Dr. Green developed a brain tumor. In spite of the best medical treatments available, the tumor proved inoperable. Dr. Green had only a few weeks left to live. So Mark, along with his wife and daughter, went to Hawaii where he lived as a kid while his dad served in the Navy. Mark always loved Hawaii and decided that’s where he wanted to die. Before his death Dr. Green spoke his last words to his daughter, giving her his final fatherly advice. He thought long and hard about what to tell her and finally came up with the words he wanted to share. The day before he died, Dr. Green gave his final advice, his final prescription so to speak, to his daughter. He said to her, “Be generous. Be generous with your time. Be generous with your love. Be generous with your life. Be generous.”

I’m not sure what final advice I would give my two children if I knew I was about to die. But it would be hard to improve on Dr. Green’s final words. Although he was not a particularly religious man, Dr. Green’s “final prescription” was deeply spiritual. Throughout the Bible, God encourages all of us to be generous. God wants us to be generous with our time, our love, our compassion, our money, and our service. And when we are generous, when we give of ourselves in service to others, we will find true contentment and fulfillment. As Jesus told his disciples after washing their feet, if you serve others as I have served you, “you will be blessed” (John 13:17). Proverbs 11:25 puts it this way, “A generous person will be enriched, and one who gives water will get water.” The key to a fulfilling life is service to others. So let us follow Dr. Green’s final prescription and “be generous.”

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