SCRIPTURE: Luke 9:23 (CEB) – larger reading: Luke 9:23-27
Jesus said to everyone, "All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me.
S. I. McMillen, in his book None of These Diseases, tells a story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, "Are you a leader?" Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst. To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower."
Jesus asked for followers not fans. When all the cheering stops who will be left still on the field?
We are living in the day of “selfies”. The attention is being directed at ourselves. I thought the 90’s were bad, but today’s climate is horrible. It has gotten worse. It is all about us. What’s in it for me? Churches are filled with enthusiastic fans, but few followers.
Okay, I get it, it is costly to be follower. We might have to give up something that we cherish. We probably will have to do something that we really are uncomfortable doing, but that is the “cross” angle that Jesus was talking about. It is easy to be a fan of the Kingdom. It is much harder and demanding to be a follower of the King.
Taking up a cross could lead to sacrificing … that is the “ouch” factor of discipleship. We want the glory without the cost. We desire the promise of eternity without the price of discipleship.
Discipleship is about others. Our focus is on the needs of others. The church today needs more followers and fewer fans. Reading the scripture again points us in the direction that to be a follower Jesus has to be the leader and for him to lead us it becomes necessary for us to take up our cross. Discipleship is not for wimps.
God of mercy and grace help me today become more of a follower and less a fan.