Some years ago in Los Angeles, California, a Brinks armored truck used to transport money dropped a bag that contained $240,000. An honest man, a janitor by the name of Douglas Johnson, found it and took it to the bank. Brinks gave him a $10,000 reward for what he did.
"But," said Mr. Johnson, "I wished I'd never seen the bag and returned it. I received letters and phone calls for being dumb and stupid. I've had to listen to it every day of the week since I gave the money back. It has made me a poor man!"
How would you deal with a thing like that?
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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.