Fido is in the dirt gnawing on a bone. It is dry, brittle, depleted of marrow and moisture. It is dead and useless except for stimulating the gums of Fido and giving his jaws some exercise. You approach Fido with your hands behind your back. Fido eyes you and is suspicious. You speak kindly to your canine friend. He wags his tail. He smiles his doggy smile keeping his paw firmly planted on the bone. Fido continues to sniff and chew on his bone. You slowly bring a hand out from behind your back revealing a half pound of USDA prime cut choice ground sirloin beef.
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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.