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recruiting or discipling?
"Why, O Lord, do You reject me; why hide from me Your face?" —Ps 88:15
It's doubtful that Jesus would be hired as a personnel director for a Fortune 500 company. Imagine the lawsuits that would occur if a company employee gave such brusque and seemingly insulting replies to a potential applicant as Jesus does in today's gospel passage!
Unfortunately, it's also unlikely that Jesus, despite the fact that He is Head of the Church (Eph 1:22), would be approved as a parish personnel director today. It's hard to find good help in our church ministries. When we finally get someone who is willing to work, the last thing we typically want to do is to run them off by taking away their desk (Lk 9:58) or challenging their sincerity (Lk 9:60ff).
The Lord's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Is 55:8). His ways and thoughts tower above ours, as high as the heavens are above the earth (Is 55:9). Although Jesus is certainly concerned about ministry, He is more intent upon calling forth and raising up disciples. Discipleship is His highest priority (see Mt 28:19), and it is critical to call a would-be disciple to total commitment. Like Jesus, Joshua (Jos 24:19), John the Baptizer (Mt 3:7-8), Peter (Acts 8:20-21), and Paul (Acts 15:37-38) all challenged those who said they were ready to commit to the Lord.
Calling others to a total commitment means that we will be rejected more often. However, it also means that we will raise up some totally committed, fruitful disciples who will build up the kingdom of God.
Prayer: Father, I am Your slave (Col 3:24). Use me as You will.
Promise: "God is wise in heart and mighty in strength; who has withstood Him and remained unscathed?" —Jb 9:4
Praise: St. Jerome spent four years in the desert, learning God's word in solitude and prayer.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.) (Note: Presentation Ministries offers Discipleship Retreats. Call our Ministry Center at 513-662-5378 for more information.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, February 17, 1998
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 25, 1998