No Fan Club for Jesus

We aren’t seeking autographs from the Carpenter-turned-Lord of the Universe.

I recently watched a documentary called Trekkies, that explored the Star Trek fan subculture. It struck me how people can get involved with hobbies at levels that disquiet the rest of us.

For instance, some Star Trek fans wear costumes to work—way over the top for a guy like me, who worries about whether his Hawaiian shirts attract too much attention. Other fans go to special camps to learn fictitious alien languages, such as Klingon. Personally, I found even a legitimate dialect too challenging, having almost flunked out of high school French.  Apparently, fans of Star Trek also like to wear rubber ears and headpieces to resemble beings from another planet. That’s amazing to me, given the amount of time I’ve spent trying to look like someone from this planet.

We could also add to the fandom list Mickey Mouse. Elvis. Sports teams. Zombies. Marilyn Monroe. Star Wars. I even read about a guy who got twenty-five tattoos of Olivia Newton-John.   You name it, there’s a fan club for it as well as a whole range of attached behaviors outsiders will find mildly eccentric.

And then there’s Jesus.   What do people think when they see His zealous followers from a distance? Our willingness to pass by worldly pleasures and occasionally die for a person we’ve never visibly seen have caused folks to refer to us as something more than fans—freaks, maybe.

We ourselves prefer to use words like “committed,” or “dedicated,” or “sold out” to describe serious Christians. But here’s a word you might not often use: consecrated. The term mainly shows up in the Old Testament associated with priests and sacrifices (Ex. 29:22-27 NKJV).

Consecrate literally means “to fill the hand.” Typically the Old Testament priests had their hands full of sacrifices to God.  They were occupied with God, and the imagery suggests that since their hands were full, those same hands weren’t available to latch onto just any stray pursuit that came along.

Consider what this looks like in the New Testament:

“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died”
(2 Cor. 5:14).

The apostle Paul could give one great reason for his endless travels from city to city, his willingness to look like a fool, endanger his own life, endure persecutions, and live in such a simple way, without extravagance and comfort.

The sacrificial love of Jesus.

It had so potent an influence upon him and the other apostles, that they didn’t have the time or even the inclination to live for other things.  The love of Christ that exemplified the greatest sacrifice (“One died for all”), filled their hearts, “compelling” them in turn to live a sacrificial life.  The crucified Christ spilled over, filling their hands so fully that today we know nothing about their hobbies, their pets, their favorite foods.  But we know of their consecration, and that the longest book in our New Testament is called the Acts of the Apostles.

These men were in effect dead to the purposes of their day—the jobs and crafts that have long since passed into antiquity, and money that has vanished except for museum showcases.  That world mostly turned into historical curiosities, but the thing that filled their hands has remained electrifying and relevant up until today.

Whenever this one great sacrifice finds its way into a human heart, it seeks to fill hands as well.  God always promotes His Son as Lord of All, and wishes Him to be the orientation of our life and loyalty, the living object of our affections.  This is both reasonable and right.  Before I ever had my hands full of Him, He had His hands full of me—one nail that is, through each of them.

I’m not obsessed with a thing or an image or religious regalia. Neither am I enamored with a good life of suburban blessings from a suburban God.  I don’t have a celebrity crush on Jesus, like folks do with Taylor Swift or Tom Cruise.

As serious believers, our hands are full of a real Person with whom we have an actual relationship.  If we’re weird, it’s because we have a magnificent obsession that will remain long after we vacate this passing world and its “very important” pet rocks and hula-hoops.

 

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