The Fan (Acts 2:42-47)
“And the Lord added to their number daily those where being saved”
I’m a die-hard fan of a few things, most of them you can probably guess.
I’m clearly hard-core fan about baseball, particularly the St. Louis Cardinals. The Birds on Bat have been my team since the early 1990s when I first lived in St. Louis and caught Redbird fever. On my bucket list is the goal to see as many baseball stadiums as possible before I die (just in case you’re planning a trip to Fenway or Camden Yards anytime soon). I sacrifice, scrimp and save to cover my annual bill to MLB television so I can watch every Card game on either my computer or iPad or iPod.
I’m also a devoted follower of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Boise State Broncos (college football) and the Minnesota Vikings (pro football) and the Los Angeles Lakers. With exception to BSU, all these teams have been “my team” since my youth.
Fans do crazy things, don’t they? Just look at the way they dress, yell and advertise.
In fact, the word “fan” originated from the world of baseball when “fans” was either short for “fanciers” or “fanatics.” A fan is hopelessly devoted to his or her team. Fair weather fans need not apply.
Of course, success always packs the stadium and boosts the gate receipts. A team that’s winning draws attention, affection and attendance while a losing streak, off year or lengthy slump (think “Mets” here) can produce apathy, anger and absences. Some teams (like the affable Chicago Cubs) are lovable losers.
I’m also a fan of certain eateries. Five Guys burgers. Chick-Fil-A. Old Spaghetti Factory. You also can’t beat regional and local restaurants like Lamberts (Home of the Throwed Roll) in Missouri or Jack Stack BBQ in Kansas City or In-N-Out burger in California or Graeters ice cream in Cincinnati.
I’m a huge music fan. I love classic rock (Kansas, Boston, Led Zepp, BTO), blues (Stevie Ray, Eric Clapton, Jonny Lang), Christian rock (Switchfoot, Third Day, Kutless, Audio Adrenaline), among many others (Gov’t Mule, Black Stone Cherry). A year ago, my son and I went to see U2 play in Salt Lake City and it was one of the finest concerts I’ve ever experienced.
And let’s not forget television. I’ll confess, I’m a reality nut. I love Survivor, Apprentice and Idol. I’m also a fan of The Deadliest Catch, The Office, Big Bang Theory and CSI, though I still enjoy the oldies like the Brady Bunch, M*A*S*H, WKRP and Cosby. Right now, I’m hopelessly “lost” to Lost.
I guess I “fancy” a lot of things. I’m sure you have your own list, too. But these things pale in comparison to my “fanatic fandom” of the CHURCH, JESUS CHRIST and CHRISTIANITY.
I absolutely love watching the Church grow in Grace, love with Mercy and go with Power. The long history of the Church and its tremendous impact and influence upon wider culture makes it a formidable brand. We are the Yankees of the religious world. We are a Divine Dynasty that’s never perfect but always a winner.
The contributions of the Church to the world cannot be understated. The next time someone informs you of all the “bad” the Church has done (with nods to Inquisitions, religious wars and priest abuse), you just point to the many hospitals, thrift stores, food banks, YMCAs, YWCAs and other church-run social programs out there.
When there’s a tragedy like Joplin or New Orleans or even Haiti, guess who’s the FIRST to arrive and the LAST to leave. You guessed it: the Church! And I’m thankful the Church has made her stand against the negative cultural ideologies and influences throughout history. Sure we get blamed for being “close-minded” or “bigoted” or even “fanatical” but, in the end, when the Church stands together mountains of moral trash are moved, even eliminated.
The question I’d like to pose to you today is “who’s fan are you?”
It’s easy to tell you know. One look at a bank account will show priorities. Jesus said “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). A simple look at a daily schedule will tell, too. Time is more valuable than money and we spend it so carelessly and cheaply. And don’t forget the people we hang around with and, yes, the stuff we ingest through our eyes and ears (movies, television, music). All these show our loyalties.
The thing about fans is while they may love a lot of things, they are rabid about the ONE thing. For me, that’s Jesus Christ and His Bride, the Church.
With every breath I take and every beat of my heart, I hope you see Jesus in me. No, I’m not perfect, but in Christ I’m clearly a winner. I’m a fan of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness and Self-Control. I’m hopelessly devoted to GRACE!
We’re all fans of some things but I pray you are (or become) a fan of the One thing that truly matters.