MM00082 Fan or Follower
Mentoring Manna: Fan or Follower?
© 2003 Pastor Keith Hassell
Luke 14:25-27 “Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
Wherever Jesus went, He drew a crowd. There was always something fresh and exciting about His ministry. The things that He taught were captivating. In addition, He healed the sick, He cleansed the lepers, raised the dead, and He fed the multitudes with bread and fish. Yes, Jesus always drew a crowd. But in this passage, Jesus turned to the multitudes of fans and stated clearly the demands to follow Him. Jesus was not interested in gathering multitudes. He was interested in gathering disciples.
Another way of saying this is that Jesus wasn’t interested in fans; He wanted followers. The difference between a fan and a follower might be understood by looking at a typical sporting event such as football. Most people come to the game as fans to cheer on the team. Only a few are on the field paying the price to win. As we know, there is a great difference in commitment between a fan on the sideline and a player on the field.
A fan is an enthusiastic admirer. A fan can love the team and still not be on the team. He can wear the T-shirt and have thorough knowledge of the game and the players involved. He can feel like he is part of the game while never being involved on the field. He can empathize with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. He can shout in the grandstands and jump with the crowd. He can share the same game environment with the team. A fan can look like the real thing, but he is not the real thing. A fan can hang around the game without personal sacrifice. A fan is a grandstand critic of the game. They would be the perfect coach or player. The can see everything so clearly! They are with you in a winning season and can jump teams when you begin to lose. They can walk out, boycott, or stay home any time, because they have nothing invested. They are only fans.
A follower is a disciplined participant and learner, a disciple. A follower is a participant. A follower has stepped out of the grandstands and onto the field. He has traded in his T-shirt for a uniform. He has submitted himself to the intensive training of the coach. He knows that every aspect of training is necessary and good. He is accountable to the team. He is aware that he cannot think like a fan, for his behavior and commitment now affects the team. A follower pays the price in time, energy, and resources. He is committed to the team. He is committed to the win. He sacrifices his own comfort and lays aside his independence to be a part of something bigger than he is. A follower is the real thing. He will stick it out to the end because it has cost him everything.
The difference between a fan and a follower is that one has paid the price and one has not. Jesus will not build His team with fans but with followers. Unless we are willing to put Him first above all others in our life, count the cost, and take up our cross, we cannot be His disciples. Fans may share in the excitement of the game, but only the team shares the trophy. Be assured that there will be no fans in God’s hall of fame.
Application: Are you a fan or a follower of Jesus Christ? Are you in the grandstands cheering on the praise team and pastor, or have you signed up for the team? Do you wear the T-shirt and carry the church program as you sit comfortably in your seat? Do you show up only when the church is scheduled to “play again”? Are you able to come and go as you want, give as you want, attend as you want, serve as you want, and determine your own level of sacrifice? If so, then you are not a follower but a fan. Jesus is not interested in fans. He wants you on His team. He wants you to be one of His followers, one of His disciples. Ask yourself, “Could I build a winning team if everyone had the same level of commitment that I am demonstrating toward God?” Don’t settle for being a fan. Don’t be fooled by being a fan. Remember, only those who follow will receive the crown. Only those who work will receive the wages. Trade in your T-shirt for a uniform. Become a true follower of Jesus!
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I trade in my T-shirt for a uniform. From this day forward I determine to be a follower of Jesus rather than a fan. I commit myself to the process of learning and training necessary to become a vital participant on the field. I submit myself to Your Lordship so that I might receive the correction and discipline I need. I commit myself to be a team player with others. I will be Your disciple. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.”