Not a Fan

Thanksgiving weekend means different things to different people. For some it’s all about food, for others it’s family, for others’s it’s faith….and for others, it’s…football.
In addition to the non-stop football on TV all weekend, I understand there’s a pretty big game being played just down the road this Saturday. And although the game has lost a lot of it’s lustre this year, it’s still quite a big deal for most people who live in our state. At the very least, there’s still “braggin’ rights” at stake for fans of both schools.
The sad truth is, however, that so many folks in these parts base their worth, significance and happiness on the outcome of a football game between young men most of whom they’ve never met. And even if their heart and soul is wrapped up in a game, they themselves won’t be participating or competing in any way. They are, merely,fans.
Which brings me to a popular new book I recently started reading, entitled “Not a Fan.” Author and pastor Kyle Idlerman contrasts the difference between being a fan, and a follower, especially in our relationship with Christ. In a culture where sport and celebrity have become an obsession for so many millions, it would do us all well to understand that difference.
The dictionary defines a fan as “an enthusiastic admirer.” The word itself comes, of course, from the idea of being a fanatic–and we do understand that in our state. But it’s important to note that in reality, a fan sits in the crowd and cheers for the player, the actor, or the cause, but never really gets directly involved. It rarely costs him anything, other than the price of the ticket, the attire, or the required accessories.
But being a follower of Jesus is much more than being a fan. It requires sacrifice, sold-out commitment, and getting in the game. No more sitting on the sidelines. No more kicking back in the Lazy Boy with the pizza, wings, chips and remote control. There is blood and sweat and tears to be offered.
“If anyone would come after Me,” Jesus told His disciples, “he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23). That’s not the call to be a fan, but a disciple. And it’s my hope and prayer for each of you, that you would move beyond being merely a fan, and take your place in the lineup as a fully committed follower of Christ.
I hope all you football fans enjoy the big game on Saturday, however it turns out, even though I realize that about half of you will not be happy with the result. More than that, I hope you’ll realize that at the end of the day, it’s just a game. But the call of Jesus to follow after Him is the stuff of real life, for eternity sake.
May He be honored as you follow Him today. I’m praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
–Pastor Ken