I don’t know about you, but it seems that every other time or so I’m on Facebook, I get a chance to become a “fan” of Jesus or God.
There are several “Jesus” fan pages on Facebook. Any Facebook member can start one and their number of fans range anywhere from a few hundred to hundred of thousands. The top-ranked “God” page has 600,000 fans, is run by a religious tolerance group from Canada and represents more than one faith.
I am not knocking anyone who becomes a “fan” of God or Jesus by clicking on a Facebook page. However, since I have already declared myself to be a fan of University of Alabama athletics (Roll Tide Roll!) and Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Que among other things, I have found it hard to put Jesus in the same category as my worldly vices.
It might have more to do with where I am right now in my walk than anything else. At one time, after praying long and hard about it, I felt I should put one of those Ichthus fish symbols on my Jeep Cherokee. When I traded in my beloved Jeep ten years later, I considered putting an Ichthus on my new truck. However, I didn’t feel the same prompting about it like I had before. Doing so would have been a mindless, spiritless exercise.
You can go to the dictionary and draw distinctions between the words “fan” and “follower”. After a while, it’s like splitting hairs. Some fans are die-hard fans. They attend every game and cheer every play, win or lose, until the end. Some fans are lukewarm. They go with the crowd. They jump on the bandwagon when their team is winning and pull back when they lose. If the losing streak is too long or painful, they switch teams altogether. I am one of those guys who has dozens of different teams represented on the ball caps in my closet. I can always find a cap to wear for a hot team.
Following Jesus is not easy (read Matthew 19:16-28). Jesus had a lot more followers when he was popular than just before he was crucified. Most of the time, it’s a lot easier to follow your favorite sports team, singer, actress or leader than it is to follow Jesus. As fans, we identify with the outcome of a game, the music we hear or the aura of a celebrity. Following Jesus requires a lot more. It requires faith, obedience and giving up a lot of things we really want.
On the other side of things, I wonder why we as Christ followers rarely show the same level of enthusiasm for what God is doing as we do for the teams we follow. The things God is doing in the lives of people is so much more exciting than a contested jump shot or double play. In church, we tend to sit on our hands and listen quietly, occasionally clapping when prompted. At a ball game, we hoot and holler like heathens the minute our team takes the field. If we could become more fan-like in this respect, imagine just how exciting a place the church could be.