There is one doctor who is a household name. No, I am not talking about Dr. Phil, or even Dr. Spock. You could very quickly recall his name if someone in your home began to choke on a foreign object. You would quickly spring into action, most likely performing what we know as the Heimlich Maneuver. Though I have never had to be the administrator, nor the recipient of this “maneuver,” if administered correctly, it is supposedly an effective way of clearing the airway of a choking victim. What is interesting about the Heimlich Maneuver is that it is named after Cincinnati physician, Dr. Henry Heimlich. The “maneuver” was first advocated by Heimlich in 1974. Prior to this, the application of back blows was the acceptable practice for clearing obstructed airways. However, this method often caused foreign objects to drop deeper in the airway, worsening the situation. Since 1974, countless choking victims have been saved thanks to the Heimlich Maneuver.
However, if you ask Henry’s son, Peter, he will tell you that the Heimlich Maneuver should actually be called the Patrick Maneuver, claiming that his father stole the procedure from colleague, Edward Patrick. Peter claims that the only maneuver his father can take credit for is maneuvering his own reputation. In fact, Dr. Heimlich’s latest medical crusade is HIV research. In a highly controversial procedure, known as Malariotherapy, HIV patients are injected with malaria-infected blood. This highly dangerous procedure has been widely criticized by the established medical community as a deadly course of treatment. It is no wonder that these procedures have primarily been conducted in Ethiopia and other developing nations, outside the oversight of governing bodies. Dr. Heimlich has taken his crusade to Hollywood, raising millions of dollars for his controversial research on the fame of his last name. Peter claims that all of his father’s medical accomplishments have been proven to be quack medicine or stolen from colleagues.
Isn’t it interesting that the guy known for saving the lives of choking victims may himself be choking? In Mark 4, Jesus spoke of the risk of sowing good seed in thorny ground. While the seed may germinate and grow, Jesus said that those plants are choked by the “worries of this age, the seduction of wealth, and the desires for other things.” Who knows if anyone has ever shared the gospel with Dr. Heimlich, but if his son’s criticism is right, there may be a lot of thorns in his life that would keep the gospel from bearing fruit.
What about your life? Are there thorns in your life that are keeping the gospel from bearing fruit? Is your lifeline being choked by worries, wealth, and other distractions? Truth be told, if a plant is worth saving, the only course of action to rescue that plant that is being choked by thorns is the bloody process of removing the thorns.
Jesus knows a little something about thorns. He knows something about blood too. All those sinful thorns in my life, they have been pulled by a bloody hand, and trampled on by a bloody foot. So when my fruit is diminished because I am being choked by my thorns, I would do well to look at the crown placed upon my Lord’s head during his passion – a crown made of the very thing that threatens my fruitfulness – a crown of thorns. Why I ever allow thorns in my life I may never know, but I am so grateful for a God who has provided the maneuver to keep me from choking in my own thorns.