I grew up an Arkansas Razorback fan. I have noticed that I pay a lot more attention to the season when the team is winning. I wear more fan clothing. I talk more sports. That is a symptom of being a Fair Weather Fan. Happy when things are good. Vacant when things aren't so good.
We can treat our faith in a similar way. We can be a fan of Jesus and not actually a follower. Read today's text for an example:
Jesus went out to the lake with his disciples, and a large crowd followed him. They came from all over Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, from east of the Jordan River, and even from as far north as Tyre and Sidon. The news about his miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see him. Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him. He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him. Mark 3:7-10
People came from everywhere when they heard Jesus was back at it again. He was healing. He was casting out demons. He was meeting needs of the massive crowd that pressed in upon Him. Jesus did heal and do miracles and those should draw our attention for that was their purpose. Once our attention was on Him we were to hear the message of the Good News that He had came to rescue us from sin. This is such a greater miracle than any of the other signs He gave. This was the gift of eternal life for those who would believe. To believe this would be to change one's life from that of a fair weather fan to a faithful follower. What's the difference you say? Here are a few parallel's to see where you stand:
1. Fan's tend to go away when they aren't 'feeling it'. Followers are committed to the person and work of Jesus rather than an emotion or a feeling.
2. Fan's tend to see everything as about them. Their team. Their need. Their want. Followers will follow faithfully because it's 'not about them'. A Christ-Follower is following Jesus because they found out Who He is and that is enough.
3. Fan's tend to wander off when the outcome doesn't match their desires or expectations. You know the guy who has the hat for the team that one the most recent Super Bowl (as well as the one before...etc.)...Followers commit to something deeper than a scoreboard. Followers of Jesus measure success in terms of obedience to His call rather than any other metric.
4. Fan's tend to be more comfortable in a crowd. It feels safer to know that many others are doing the same thing. It seems easier to hide from accountability or something more than a surface-level relationship. Followers of Jesus are committed to Him even if they are the only one. Likewise, they become committed to others who feel the same.
Are you a follower of Jesus or just a fan? A fan may wonder off when the bread runs out or the miracle doesn't deliver. The follower will stick close to The One who gives life both now and eternally!
This concept is written about in the book 'Not A Fan' by Kyle Idelman. I don't think I have borrowed anything from him in this writing but I did read it several years ago and I would encourage the book to anyone who wants to follow Jesus well.