Our Giving Up series in worship concludes this week with popularity. I must admit, being popular is not something I had much experience with while growing up, but that doesn’t mean popularity didn’t get in the way of relationship with Jesus. Read on for this week’s announcements cover article.

I was never very popular when I was a kid. For those who know me, it won’t surprise you that I was more of a nerd. I liked computers, even going so far as to research how to program my TI-85 calculator to play games. I was the one you could count on for tutoring help.

If you would have told me to give up my popularity to follow Jesus, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. What popularity? But even when you aren’t popular, your popularity can be a wedge between you and Jesus.

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38

Have you ever held back when you should have been Jesus’ hands to someone? Or remained silent when you could be His words to them? I know I have, and it was rooted in a fear of becoming even less popular. I may not have been popular, but it was certainly something I wanted, and so I allowed that desire to be popular to drive my actions. I probably should have been more intentional about being foolish:

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

Giving up your popularity really means giving up the wisdom of the world and embracing the “foolish” Word of God. And then it doesn’t matter how popular we are in the eyes of the world.