The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love
As a kid, I remember seeing commercials on television for the Peace Corps. They featured young men and women helping the impoverished people of the world. Some of the scenes the commercials showed were heartbreaking to watch, and I was seeing them from the safety of my own living room. They always ended with the phrase, “The Peace Corps. The toughest job you’ll ever love.”
When you look at all the sacrifices the men and women of the Peace Corps make, and all the tragic situations they encounter, it is easy to see that it truly is a really tough job. Our job as disciples is very much the same.
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This Sunday’s readings focus on the sacrifices we make to be disciples of Christ. Jesus really lays it out straight for us in the Gospel. He lets us know up front that a life of following him means that we have to put him first ahead of all other things in our life. No, we don’t really have to hate our parents, but we do have to place our priority on Christ. Everything else will fall into place.
Jesus wants us to know what we are getting into so that we can carry out our duties as his followers. He wants us to be in it for the long haul, so he’s setting out all the worst-case scenarios for us.
In the second reading, Paul is helping Onesimus, a runaway slave, return to his master Philemon. The catch is that when he returns, his master must no longer treat him as a slave, but as a brother. So in order for Philemon to be a good disciple he must sacrifice his slave. Onesimus will return to him, this time as an equal.
This is another one of those tough sacrifices we have to make. For when we put Jesus first, we must put others ahead of ourselves as well.
The work and choices and sacrifices we must do and make are not easy. But the payoff in the end is amazing! When we place our priority on Christ, everything else in our lives becomes more clearly defined.
But just like the Peace Corps, being a disciple of Jesus is the toughest job you’ll ever love.
What are your priorities? What is most important to you? Least important? Where does Jesus fall in that list?
What kind of sacrifices have you had to make for the things you love?
How do you make your difficult decisions?
Original articleby Jacki Popadich, 2004.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.