You are looking for Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal of approval on Him. – John 6:26,27

These days, it seems that being a bandwagon fan is one of the 7 deadliest sins – especially if you’re a teenage boy. I’m not positive which of the original 7 they throw out to take its place, but my guess is sloth. Go ahead; get on Twitter and search #bandwagon. In the next 3 days, there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of tweets with that hashtag.

I first started to notice this phenomenon last year, when my son and his friends were constantly berating one another about their commitment to the teams they wore on t-shirts and hats. They couldn’t even voice a hope that a team or player would do well without being questioned and/or accused by each other. It was perplexing to me. At first, I wondered what was the big deal. I mean, what kind of a macho thing is that? They act as if a person must decide at an early age which teams he will root for, and never again waver from that decision. If you didn’t rock the Houston Texans beanie when they went 2 and 14, then you sure better not be walking around in a J.J. Watt jersey now that they’re 5-0.

I think I get it, though. People long for authenticity, and that extends to every area of life. We want real fans, not people who are fickle. And when things get good, we want people to acknowledge those of us who have stayed true all along. At the height of His popularity, Jesus met a lot of people who just wanted to ride the bandwagon. He was doing some really cool stuff – healing people, feeding thousands from nothing – and there was always a crowd. Naturally, there were a lot of t-shirt fans along the way, people looking for backstage passes, wanting to say, “Oh yeah, I know Jesus. LOVE Him! He’s good friend’s with my cousin’s best friend’s brother.” But Jesus wasn’t interested in that type of following. Here’s how He responded to those kinds of people:

“As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ But Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.’ he said to another person, ‘Come, follow me.’ The man agreed, but he said, ‘Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.’ but Jesus told him, ‘Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.’ Another said, ‘Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say goodbye to my family.’ But Jesus told him, ‘Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.'” Luke 9:57-62

Here were 3 guys willing to walk the aisle. They were gonna go forward! But Jesus saw that they were holding back, and so He told them to keep their seats if they weren’t willing to follow Him in every kind of circumstance. The thing is, He wasn’t just talking to those 3 guys. He was letting us know today that real love for God isn’t just a simple acknowledgement that He is good. It’s not just about waving the Jesus flag when there’s a parade; it’s about staying true when there are losses piling up, even in the cold, driving rain.

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