A Disciple or a Fan

Let me tell you a story of two children… Young Bobby wants to be a great soccer player. He watches soccer. He has posters of soccer players on his walls. All of his video games are soccer video games. He even sleeps with a stuffed soccer ball. Young Sarah also wants to be a great soccer player. She too watches soccer. She has posters of soccer players on her walls. She gets up every morning before school and kicks the soccer ball into a net that will bounce it back to her. She works with her coaches every day after school to improve her skills. After practice she runs, does other work outs, and then heads back to her home practice area after finishing her homework to drill whatever new skill her coach has shared with her. Which young person is on the path to becoming a soccer player?

Our empathetic nature wants to say that both young people are on the path. However, unless he changes course, Bobby is on the path to become a great fan of soccer and not a great soccer player. Bobby has not yet understood what it takes to move from fan to player. Sarah, on the other hand, has accepted the work involved. She not only desires to do something in theory, she also has embraced what becoming a soccer play in reality. Do you know anyone like Bobby? They talk about wanting to do or be something, but they haven’t really embraced what it will take to be it? Do you know any Christians like that? Are you (and I ask myself this question from time to time) like that?

When Pastors talk about living for Christ, some folks respond by saying, “That’s easy for you, Pastor, you don’t have to face my boss, family situation, or work conditions.” Would it shock us to know that most pastors today are very aware of the struggles, temptations, and opposition Christians face when they try to live for Jesus. No, your pastor may have not stumbled in the exact same way or faced the exact same temptation that you have; but the scripture is clear that all of us (including pastors) face similar temptations and struggles (1 Corinthians 10:31). So, it isn’t a lack of understanding that causes both men and women of God to encourage us to live wholly for Christ. Quite the contrary! Instead of a position of ignorance, those saints who urge us to embrace the high calling that is being a disciple of Jesus do so exactly because they know it is hard. They also see so many that seem surprised by just what is necessary to live for Christ. Personal holiness, sharing Christ, personal discipleship, and living consistently are not always easy or simple things to do.  They take effort.  They take effort over and over.  Sometimes that effort yields immediate results.  Sometimes that effort is a lot like planting seeds.  All you see is the work you did, but there is no obvious or instantaneous result. I wonder… are we willing to do the work that doesn’t yield immediate results?  Does it discourage us?  Or do we acknowledge that it is part of the process? Are we ready to do what is necessary, or do we balk at the effort?

Farmers know that it is all part of the process.  Sowing is sometimes needed.  There is no getting around it.  A wise farmer will not resent the process.  He will not reject the prospect of needing to plant seeds and cultivate soil.  He won’t just quit in May because the ground is hard or the weeds seem to be winning.  No, he will work because he knows the process.

Do we?  Do we who believe in the Lord of the harvest understand the process of the harvest?  Do we know that tireless effort that appears to have no result is exactly what is needed?  Do we understand that we must plant and cultivate and weed before we see the growth?  Do we give up in the May or early June of our relationships (either with God or with others) and never get to August or September?  What will we miss if we do? How will we ever see the harvest unless we do the work?  Never give up!  Be willing to do what is needed and what we are called to even if it is hard. Prepare yourself now to become the disciple Christ calls you to be.

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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