Fan or Follower?
Several years ago, I read a book by Kyle Idleman entitled, Not a Fan: Becoming A Completely Committed Follower of Jesus. I learned some valuable lessons from the book, but there were two things that impressed me so much, I find myself recalling them over and again.
Here's the first thing I learned: Jesus has a lot of fans, and not a lot of followers.
Lots of people who call themselves Christians don't actually live their lives in ways that resemble how Jesus lived his.
They have what the great theologian and philosopher Soren Kierkegaard referred to as "admiration" for Jesus, but don't seem to reflect Jesus' teachings in the things they say or the way they live their lives. They are fans, but not followers.
The second thing I learned is this: I often live my life as though I am a fan of Jesus and not his follower.
It's not easy to follow Jesus. Jesus has a tendency to lead us to places and to people that make us uncomfortable. To follow in Jesus' footsteps means that I will have to die to my self, my pride and my own desires and needs in order to truly love others.
Acting like Jesus means that I will need to forgive even those in my life who seem unforgivable. Living by Jesus' example means that I have no problem hanging with people who are different from me, and loving them right where they are.
Being a fan is so much easier.
In a recent Lenten reflection, theologian Walter Brueggeman wrote, "Jesus is an invitation and a chance and a summons to a different way of life. And we are always deciding."
We are always deciding, aren't we? To be a fan or a follower---it's a decision we have to make every single day of our lives, but more so now during this season of Lent.
May you decide each day to be a fully engaged, follower of Jesus--to try your best to live in his difficult and often maddeningly difficult-to-follow example of goodness, light, love, peace, and hope.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.