From today's Gospel reading from St. Luke 14:25-24:
"A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many. When the time for the dinner came, he dispatched his servant to say to those invited, 'Come, everything is now ready.' But one by one, they all began to excuse themselves. The first said to him, 'I have purchased a field and must go to examine it; I ask you, consider me excused.' And another said, 'I have purchased five yoke of oxen and am on my way to evaluate them; I ask you, consider me excused.' And another said, 'I have just married a woman, and therefore I cannot come.' The servant went and reported this to his master. Then the master of the house in a rage commanded his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.' The servant reported, 'Sir, your orders have been carried out and still there is room.' The master then ordered the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled. For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner."
It is disquieting to think that such excuses as were given by the originally invited guests are not objectively bad things: one's business, one's properties, one's marriage. It is equally disquieting that I could easily come up with such excuses for all sorts of occasions in which it may well be the Lord inviting me to come. How does a Christian husband and father juggle his family's needs as well as his God's will? What did those countless martyrs think when confronted with a threat of execution (and therefore depriving their young families of themselves) unless they renounced Christ?
One of the debates I had with myself from the beginning is this very dilemma. Is it right for me to take my family out of our third world and needy country and raise them instead in an opulent country such as Australia? Did I come here to be salt and leaven, or am I here simply to enjoy the privileges of a first world country? Am I not getting lost in those seemingly reasonable pursuits, using them as an excuse to decline the call of the gospel?
Of course, I am probably just taking myself too seriously. I guess if I do things right, in small ways, we and our children can all be leaven and salt in this society -- provided that we don't lose the plot.