Vicki and I enjoyed a day of vacation this past Thursday by traveling up to Minneapolis. In addition to a delicious meal at the Cheese Cake Factory with our son Jonathon and his wife Chelsey, we enjoyed the sights, the sounds, the smells and the scorching heat of a Twins game at Target Field.
Although once a much more avid fan of the Twins, I still appreciate a trip to the ball park. Upon arriving at the ballpark and meeting up with Jonathon, we made our way to some great seats about 20 rows up from third base. And after applying a thick coating of sun-screen we sat down to watch the game.
As a fan, there is so much to take in at these games. I first scanned the line up on the giant screen out in center field. It felt somewhat strange, out of the eighteen players listed on the Twins and Royals rosters, I only recognized one name, Justin Morneau. And in addition to not recognizing any of the players, I noticed none had a batting average over three hundred.
The peculiar feeling revealed several things to me. First, if I don’t know any of the names of the players, can I really call myself a “Twins fan”. Second, I’m getting older; most of the players were the ages of my sons. And third, I concluded that if I connect with you on only three out of ten sermons, both you and I should be pleased with that.
I also learned I’ve become a fair weather fan. It was so hot that before the game even started, we abandoned our prized seats in order to move up under the shade of the second deck. Fair weather fan or not, I still had a great time at the game. Equal to watching the players on the field, I love watching the other fans. Some of them really get into it. The guy behind us was constantly yelling; taunting the Royals players with some carefully thought out words and phrases intended to hurt their feelings.
I also noticed that the more dedicated fans were decked in all kinds of Twins shirts and hats. At one point, as I was observing only the fans to my right, I counted eight people who were checking their smart phones, which of course prompted me to check mine to see if I might be missing something “really important.” The guy to our left was probably the most dedicated fan. I noticed, he was actually tracking the progress of the game in his scorebook. And then last but not least, it’s almost impossible not to notice the robust fans that come to the game to escape reality by medicating themselves with multiple $8 beers.
As the Twins were being taught yet another baseball lesson by the Royals, I found myself struggling to “keep my head in the game.” Instead I found myself reflecting on a book I read by Kyle Idleman entitled, Not a Fan. In his book, Idleman challenges his reads to consider; when following Jesus, are you a follower or a fan. When I reflect on how I’m living my life as a Christian, am I truly a follower, or just a fair-weather fan who loves to watch other fans who love to watch “the game.” How about you? When it comes to Christianity—follower of Jesus—or just fair weather fan?
The good news, of course, is that Jesus chose us to follow him. And he didn’t choose us to become his fans, but rather, he chose us to be fruitful in joining him in his mission. May it be said of us that we are willing to give up everything in order to become a true follower of Jesus.
A follower of the Way, Mike