This question, "Why do people stop following Jesus?" appeared as the status of a friend's Facebook. Many people gave comments, a few wrote novels. A few days later, I decided to make it the subject of my blog. I think any one answer will not do, and even the few I give are far from adequate. These are just a few of the thoughts that have stayed in my head on the question.
The Junior High Answer-No one else seems to be doing it, so why should I?
This is kin to the "But mom, everyone is going to be at this party!" When you feel like no one else is on the journey with you, it is easy to decide to stop following Jesus.
The Whining Answer-It is too hard.
Following Jesus, I mean denying yourself and picking up your cross following Jesus, is hard. Let us be honest about that. Sometimes it seems impossible. So, we whine and drag our feet and eventually stop.
The Archery Answer-I missed the target.
This may be the most common answer. Did you know that "sin" is an archery term for missing the mark? We don't have to be far off the mark to find ourselves straying from the goal and, without correction, we look up one day and we are no longer following Jesus.
The Used Car Salesmen-Selling you something that is not Jesus.
This one bothers me the most. But many pastors and churches "sell" something that is not Jesus. By this I mean it is not salvific, it is not resurrecting, it is not hope-filled. They sell something that akin to, "Let's all try to be good people and love one another." I am sorry, Jesus is not Barney the Dino. Jesus is the Savior of the world. Let's get this one right, people.
Thankfully, Jesus is always ready to receive someone who wants to follow him. Yes, we may stumble, miss the target, get tired, and just plain quite from time to time. Still, the angels in heaven rejoice every time one of us sinners says, "I will follow."