The Inconvenience of Discipleship

When I drove out of the gas station the other day, I was in a hurry. That’s why I brushed off a shabbily dressed woman who was trying to flag me down to ask me for help with her car. I did not have time for this. I was already late. Surely someone else at the crowded gas station could help her. I drove off.

I did not get far before my better angels reminded me that the appointment I was running to could wait, and, of course, that I’m a priest (oh ya…). So I turned around and went back to the gas station. The woman did not seem to care that I had blown her off, and instead, was happy to see that I would help, which I did. And in no time we worked out a strategy for tending to her car, and I was on my way.

Once again I was reminded that doing the right thing is rarely convenient. It is often a hassle. And its reward is not always apparent. Yet we are called to do the right thing, not the convenient thing – which is what Jesus does.

In this Sunday’s Gospel we find Jesus healing someone He apparently had not planned on healing. Tired from His ministry, He was trying to sneak away to rest when a badgering gentile kept at Him until He healed her daughter. His attitude toward her was not unlike the one I had toward that woman in the gas station – ‘Just leave me alone, I have no time for this.’ But the woman persisted, and Jesus acquiesced. Doing the right thing is rarely easy.

So we ask ourselves about the interruptions, inconveniences, hassles, and headaches that arise in the course of our ‘ministries’ – the email for help from that serially ungrateful person or the bound-to-last-too-long phone call from the whiner who needs a hand. Do we need to step back and consider God’s hand in this? Are we recognizing that these are opportunities to serve Christ? How might we better move through our hassle-filled days, knowing that God is often in the midst of our inconveniences?

The Good of Affluence – John Schneider
The Last Stand – Nathaniel PhilBrick
Evolution o the Word – Marcus Borg