The future is big business these days. Remember when in the 1960s Alvin Toffler came out with his best-selling book, Future Shock? People everywhere rushed out to buy it, from professors to corporate executives to housewives to investment counselors to ministers. Toffler told us the future was coming at us faster than we realized, so fast in fact, it would produce future shock much as a sudden immersion in a foreign culture produces culture shock. We become disoriented and unsure of what is real and lasting and important.
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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.