There was a man who adored Oprah. He had pictures, newspaper articles, and posters. He watched Oprah everyday and when he couldn't, he’d tape it. He’d brought and kept every issue of "O" Magazine to date. He read every book that was on the Oprah Book Club list. At book signings, he was there to get Oprah’s famed autograph. He even attended a few shows when he had time away from work. If people criticized her, he wouldn't hear of it. He stood up for her each time.
One day, news spread that Oprah was having a party at her estate. All her family and friends were invited. At last, the man said to himself, all of my dedication will pay off. He hopped on the next plane. Before he knew it, his taxi cab pulled up in front of her place. As he proudly walked to the gate, two security guards stopped him there.
Oh, they’re just checking IDs. A small delay. However, the security guards informed him that his name wasn't on the list so he couldn't attend. The man became outraged. How could this be? He told the guards about the pictures, book signings, posters, magazines, everything. Still, he wasn't able to pass. As he walked towards the cab, he thought, there must be some misunderstanding here.
He went around back and jumped over her fence. As he made his way into the estate, it was beautiful. Like nothing he’d ever seen before. He found a comfortable spot on a couch and put his feet up on a coffee table. Suddenly, he caught sight of the kitchen. As he took items out of the refrigerator to make a sandwich, Oprah walked in.
"Excuse me...who are you?" she asked. Wow, it was Oprah! He ecstatically told her the same story he told the security guards. But she asked, "When did we actually meet? When did we have a conversation? When did you go out with me to a social event? When did we have a meal together? I’m sorry, but this is a private party, no fans aloud."
As the security guards escorted him away, the man finally realized…there is a big difference between a fan and a friend.
Why did I tell you this story? Because, you can memorize every book in the Bible; never miss a church service; pay your tithes and offering; participate in church events; wear a cross around your neck and a W.W.J.D.? bracelet on your wrist; have a dove emblem and Christian bumper sticker on your vehicle; have every Christian t-shirt there is; and still not make it into the Kingdom of God. All these things are good. But we need to speak to Jesus and learn how to recognize His voice; to love our neighbor as ourselves; to suffer without complaining; to sacrifice our own will for Jesus’ will in our lives. This will help us to become more than Jesus fans…we will be His friends. His children.