While I was pastoring at Three Lakes Community Bible Church we wrote up job descriptions for the various ministries at the church such as deacons, elders, senior pastor, Sunday School Superintendent and teachers, janitors, ushers, greeters, worship leaders, etc. The basis of a good working relationship is a clear job description. When you take a job or position, you need to know what is expected of you. It gives you a sense of direction and purpose and also holds you accountable.
So, what is our “job description” as a Christian? What does God expect of us? What are we supposed to be doing until we are called home to heaven? Well, Scripture makes it pretty clear. What did Jesus say repeatedly as He called His disciples? When Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee He saw brothers Peter and Andrew fishing and “He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they immediately left their nets and followed Him” (Mt. 4:18-20). Later, Jesus passed by a tax collector’s office and “He said to him, ‘Follow me,’ and he arose and followed Him” (Mt. 9:9). After Jesus had assembled the Twelve Apostles, He said to them again, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mt. 16:24).
Our basic job description? Follow Jesus! Jesus wasn’t looking for “fans;” He was looking for “followers.” He never asked us to sit on the sidelines or in the stands and cheer for His cause. He wants us to be actively involved on the “playing field.” He wants us to be fully committed to His cause and a participant in what He is doing. To follow someone you must be going in the same direction and participating in what they are involved in. In this case, it is rescue work. Jesus came to “seek and to save that which is lost” (Lk. 19:10).
During His earthly ministry, because of His many miracles and amazing teaching, Jesus attracted quite a crowd, but the majority was interested only in what Jesus could do for them, not in actually committing their lives to follow Him. But, Jesus didn’t come to win a popularity contest, He came to share the truth and to give His life as a ransom for sin (I Tim. 2:5,6). Following Him involved a cost and a risk–it still does. Eleven of the twelve Apostles were martyred for following Jesus. The twelfth, John, was exiled to the Isle of Patmos. Paul the missionary to the Gentiles was beheaded by the Romans under Nero. When Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me,” (Mt. 16:24), He was asking us to be willing to die for Him.
A “fan” is defined as “an enthusiastic admirer,” someone who cheers from the stands, knows the players, and keeps their stats. But he is merely a spectator, rooting for his team. There is no real sacrifice. If the weather is inclement, he can always stay home and watch from the comfort of his recliner! And if his team goes on a losing streak or they change coaches or players, his enthusiasm wanes and he may even start rooting for another team. I’m sure you can make the spiritual parallel! Jesus has lots of fans who cheer for Him when things are going well, but walk away when it’s a difficult season, fans who sit safely in the stands or in their home, cheering, but know nothing of the sacrifice and pain of the field, fans of Jesus who know all about Him, but they don’t really know Him intimately.
Following Jesus means that we are “all in” in every aspect of our lives, not just on Sunday and maybe one evening a week. Being a follower of Jesus is a 24-7-365 involvement and in each facet of our lives. Many like to “compartmentalize” their Christianity, only giving Jesus access to certain areas of their lives and keeping the rest to themselves. Most of us don’t mind Jesus making some minor changes in our lives, but He wants to turn our lives upside down. He’s not into “touch-up” work.” He’s into “extreme makeovers.” When Jesus called His disciples, He “messed” with the rest of their lives–He still does!. As Paul wrote to the believers at Colossae, “Whatever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord” (Col. 3:23). We are to be abandoned to Jesus in every aspect of our lives, holding nothing back, being “all in.” “All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him I freely give. I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily.”
So, are you a follower of Jesus or just a fan? Our job description, as a Christian, is to be a follower, to be “all in” for Him, no matter where it leads, no matter what the cost. “He is worthy!” (Rev. 4:12; 5:12).