12 July, Monday — Choosing God…at what cost?

Monday of Week 15 in Ordinary Time

Exo 1:8-14,22
Mt 10:34-11:1

“…he will most certainly not lose his reward.

Many of us work hard to provide for our families and loved ones. Then, at the end of the year, we look forward to our just rewards in the form of a bonus or even a pay increment. Some of us find ourselves in the unenviable position of having to decide on these amounts, making adjustments here and there based on recommendations or ‘impressions’ formed of subordinates over the course of a work year. Did the person perform to expectations? Did he/she deliver on his/her stated goals? Or, what do others think about him/her?

Contrast this with what Jesus told His disciples in today’s gospel. Imagine being told by your potential boss that he is not here to make your life easy, and is even looking to pit others against you, so that your enemies will end up being those who you work with. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to take up a job offer under such conditions. Yet, that is where we find ourselves — not just at work, but sometimes even in ministry.

I marvel at the many lay people who devote their lives to serving in God’s vineyard. The very ‘seasoned’ ones seem to have a calm, peaceful demeanour that most certainly speaks volumes about what they have probably had to endure. Everyone of us has a story (or stories) of an unpleasant, challenging, even ‘ugly’ situation encountered while serving in ministry. And I am quite sure that Jesus knew full well whose attention we would attract once we ‘sign on the dotted line’ with Him.

Brothers and sisters, the moment we make a commitment to Christ is when the trials and tribulations will come upon us. The thing is, we cannot turn around and rebuke Jesus by asking him, “Why didn’t you tell us it was going to be this tough?” Because He himself laid it all out in today’s gospel…plain as day. Choosing to follow Him is not going to be a walk in the park. Look at the apostles, priests and our church leaders. The choices that need to be made are never straightforward because inevitably, someone gets hurt. And that goes against all that Jesus taught us.

Yet, He assures us that as long as we stay true to Him, we will get our just rewards — an eternity in His loving presence.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Lord, we pray that you always nourish and feed us with your love and graces so that we don’t count the cost each time we encounter difficult situations and circumstances while doing your work.

Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank you for being the ever-loving, ever-generous, always giving God that provides just what we need, each and every day.

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