No Switching Teams

This has been a bad year to be an Arkansas Razorback fan. I have always been a bit annoyed when the Hogs start the football year with three or four “stiffs” before they get to conference play.  I understand the concept; we play in the SEC West and have to pad our schedule with some easy to beat teams from non-major conferences. We always open the season with stiffs like North Texas State and Colorado State. The only problem is that those kind of teams (actually those exact teams) are beating us this year. Badly. It suddenly dawned on me that WE are the stiffs. North Texas State is padding its schedule with us. The only bright spot as a Razorback fan in Virginia is that I can say, “Well, at least we didn’t get beat by Old Dominion like Virginia Tech.”  I’m still pulling for the hogs, but it’s going to get a lot uglier before it gets better… Alabama is on deck! This shows the difference between a fan and a follower.  Many fans are only fans when their team is doing well.  When their team starts having a good year, they jump on the bandwagon, “Go team!”  But when things aren’t going so well… well, that’s a difference story.  They start doing what my Dad accused me of doing when I was a little kid—switching teams in the 4thquarter and pulling for the team that is winning.  I have to admit that my life would be a lot happier of my ancestors had stopped in Alabama instead of continuing on to Arkansas.  But I’m not just a Razorback fan; I’m a follower.

Jesus has a lot of fans who like him on Facebook.  They are all for Him when their life is going well.  They see God as the source of every good blessings (which He is).  But what happens if those blessings stop flowing and they have them go through some tough times?  Then they think that God hasn’t held up His end of the bargain.  It is not God’s job to serve at our beck-and-call and do everything we ask in a timely fashion.  Just the opposite.  It is our job to serve him.  Jesus does tell us that we must believe in Him, but what he says even more (21 times by one count) is that we are to follow him.  Jesus doesn’t need likes on Facebook; He demands followers who pick up their cross daily.

It’s not an accident that it was right after Peter makes the good confession (Luke 9:20) that Jesus predicts his coming cross for the first time (Luke 9:21).  He tells them what being the Messiah of God was going to mean for Him.  And the very next thing he tells them is what it will mean for them—

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24)

If we are going to be a disciple or follower of Jesus, it will mean a cross for us… just like it meant a cross for him.  No fair-weather fans.  Followers. Pick up your cross and follow him followers.  Cross my heart and hope to die followers.

No switching teams is allowed!