By Joe Slater
A band wagon was a large, decorated wagon upon which a musical band performed, often at the front of a parade. As spectators applauded the musicians, other people might jump onboard and ride along, hoping to share in the glory. When the music stopped and the applause died down, however, the extra passengers would jump right back off. Thus, the practice of joining any popular trend came to be known as “climbing onto the band wagon.”
In New Testament days, multitudes of people were converting to Christ. They faced the danger of the “band wagon” effect just as we do. Paul taught some of them: “as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). To work something out is to see it through to completion (think of “working out” a math problem – you cannot stop in the middle of your calculations, but must complete the process).
Happily, our brethren in the Jerusalem church were not band wagon disciples. Luke mentions four items (Acts 2:42) in which they continued steadfastly:
The apostles’ teaching. First, they continued to be taught by the apostles. Second, they constantly behaved in keeping with what the apostles taught them. Being a Christian involves life-long learning and growing. When you stop learning and growing, you start dying!
Fellowship. The church is a spiritual family. Going it alone is next to impossible. The early church regularly spent much time together, sharing one another’s joys, sorrows, successes, and failures. When fellowship wanes, disciples weaken and may perish.
The breaking of the bread. We need constant reminders of Jesus and what He did for us at Calvary. The Lord ordained Communion (the Lord’s Supper) upon the first day of each week (Acts 20:7) for this very purpose. “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19).
Prayers. Paul wrote to the Colossians to “continue in prayer” (4:2). Jesus taught that we ought always to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1). Did you pray yesterday? Pray again today! Did you pray this morning? Pray again tonight!
Let us not treat the Lord and His church like a band wagon. When we obeyed the gospel, we committed ourselves to a lifetime of faithfulness. May we continue steadfastly as the early disciples did!
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com