25 Jun Follow JESUS (not the crowd)
Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Thought for the Day: Ignore the crowd. Follow Jesus.
The summer before I entered 7th Grade, I bought a sheepskin shirt (imported from Scotland) when my family was on vacation in New Hampshire. Having recently seen Braveheart for the first time only a few months prior, I thought that shirt was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I wore that shirt at least once a week for the rest of summer. But when the first week of school came, I was absolutely shocked when my peers ridiculed me for wearing it. Immediately after the first-period bell rang, I hurried to my locker, changed into a sweatshirt, and never wore the sheepskin shirt again.
That experience should be isolated to the awkward middle school years. However, Christians can easily find themselves treating faith in Jesus like my sheepskin shirt, ditching it in favor of something less embarrassing. The Apostle Paul himself stressed the importance of following Jesus (not the crowd) in his Second Letter to Timothy: “Having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist.”
As a middle schooler, I had “itching ears” and was too eager to follow the crowd around me. While I harmlessly ditched my sheepskin shirt the first week of seventh grade, my willingness to seek the approval of others certainly didn’t end there. Choosing to consistently follow peer pressure on seemingly small issues trains us over time to view others’ approval (the crowd) as our ultimate authority. In the two decades since, I have learned (and am still learning) the importance of seeing that only Jesus’ approval matters. Peers, colleagues, and social media make up the crowd. Today, the choice is ours: will we endure and follow Jesus or give in to our itching ears and follow the crowd?
Pastor David (and Stan)