After returning from a week-long sales conference, a woman in my congregation phoned me late one night. "Reverend ... please ... Oh God ... I've discovered in my son's room, please hurry over!" she shrieked. Upon my arrival she took me to her son's room and pulled five shoe boxes from under the bed. Each box contained five bundles of $100 bills each totaling $5,000. "Come look in his closet," she said. Opening the door, my eyes were saluted by a row of suits of every color in the rainbow and at least 50 pairs of shoes of every exotic skin available. "What's this?
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As Jesus calls his disciples it seems like he has a criterion for the people with which he wants to surround himself. It may not always be obvious in the Biblical account, but Jesus is careful to choose people who are really committed to his message. With their help, Jesus will be able to do more and spread the word about God farther.
There are always difficulties in Christian ministry, at whichever level you're involved in it, from church cleaner to the Archbishop of Canterbury. There's always someone who'll find fault, and if like the Archbishop, you're a subject of media interest, then I should imagine Christian ministry can be very difficult indeed and perhaps something of a burden.
In today's Gospel text, Jesus calls for repentance, expects Peter and Andrew to drop their nets and follow him, and calls James and John to leave their Father Zebedee in the boat without so much as a "So long, see you later."
My task today is to issue that same call to repentance, that same call to radical obedience and decisive discipleship. For that call is urgent and cries out to be issued in all of its majesty and might.