This morning I told my wife that I didn’t want to watch SportsCenter on ESPN. No, I wasn’t delirious with fever. I was disappointed that my basketball team had lost on Saturday and my favorite NASCAR driver had experienced another bad race on Sunday. I wasn’t bitter, I just didn’t want to hear how good Duke’s basketball team looked against my Tar Heels (and they did looked quite good) or how badly Jeff Gordon had finished in the first three races of the new season (currently 30th in the standings). Okay, maybe I was a little bitter, but mostly I was just discouraged.
My wife called me a “fair weather fan.” I don’t really think of myself as such. I’ll be following the games in the ACC Tournament hoping that UNC can put it all together and win out, and I’ll be intensely interested in where they are seeded for the NCAA Tournament. I’ll watch the next NASCAR race and pull for Jeff to win it. But I have noticed that I’m far more interested in watching sports news when my teams do well. Winning seems to fix everything, right?
A fair weather fan is someone who has an allegiance to a particular team but who only seems to get excited about that team when they’re winning. You know the type. When their favorite team is winning, you can hear them declare, “Hey, did you see how WE beat them other other day? WE really stomped ‘em! I think WE’ve got a chance to win it all this year.” When their team is having a bad year, the comments change a bit: “I knew THEY were going to be awful this year. THEY really stink! THEIR coach needs to go. I’m not going to waste my time watching THEM.”
God has fair weather fans, too. There are those who drift into church for a while and drift away for a while, then they may drift back or perhaps try some other church. There are those who have epiphany moments that lead them to start to pray and read their Bibles for a time, but distractions, busyness, or even laziness cause the enthusiasm to fizzle and fade. They cling to God when life has gotten out of control, but release their grip when the pressure is off. I’m not trying to be critical here. It’s just an observation, and we’re not the first generation to adopt this kind of half in half out attitude.
There were church members long ago in a place called Laodicea who were fair weather fans. To them, Jesus spoke, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). I feel pretty sure that following Jesus was never meant to be a half-hearted arrangement.
I’m so glad that the Lord is a God of second chances and new beginnings. I have been among God’s fair weather fans. My passion for Him and devotion to Him have waned far more often than I’d like to admit, but God has been steady. His promises have remained true. His love has never failed. Even when our faith falters and fails, he remains faithful. Let today be a day of new beginnings for you. Turn in your fair weather fan card, and choose to follow Jesus instead.