The Rabbi-Disciple Relationship: Part 1

As the Year of Faith draws to a close, It’s time to examine our lives and to ask ourselves, where are we at with our faith? Are we followers of Christ, or fans?


About the Author

Jeff Cavins

Jeff Cavins is the director of the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota. Over the past several years, he has dedicated his life to developing The Great Adventure, a practical, interactive Bible study system that enables students to understand the chronological flow of Sacred Scripture. Jeff holds an MA in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. He resides with his wife, Emily, and their three daughters in Minnesota.

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  • pnkyB4brain

    After a thorough examination of my innermost thoughts, I am definitely a fan of Jesus. I possess all the traits that were discussed in excerpt. Throughout the past year there have been some difficult challenges that have hit my family head on. Investing my time in these marvelous programs have helped me considerably to deal with unfortunate circumstances.
    However, I need to pay heed to Jeff’s words and work on my faith. It is somewhat like a marriage. “Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but looking together in the same direction.” -Antoine de Saint Exupery
    My direction doesn’t always coincide with our Savior’s direction. That is where the “construction in progress” begins. This talk has given me a wake up call! Complacency has taken the lead and I am the only one who can correct this “fork in the road” that I have taken many times.

  • Nick

    Thank you Jeff for that wonderful Introduction to this latest series. This year I have definitely taken a much greater interest in my faith and the teachings of Jesus but I now realize I have been doing a lot of learning and not enough following. As PnkyB4brain put it in her post “This talk has given me a wakeup call”. I now realize I need to work harder at following and a little less of being a fan. Looking forward to the next talk.

  • DebraL

    In my morning prayer, before doing my readings, I pray: Lord not only do I want to know your word but I want to be your Word. But sometimes I leave my table forgetting what I just read. So listening to Jeff I guess most of the time I am just a “fan”. Like PnkyB4brain mentioned I too am going through difficulties in my life and it just within the last two weeks I can honestly pray “Lord take all that I am and have”. So my Faith within this last year, through difficulties, has deepened because I had to depend on My Lord. So I will Praise Him in the Storm. My storms have deepened My Faith. All Glory and Honor to Our Lord. Thank You Jeff……

  • CarmenLydia Martinez

    Thank you Jeff for all you do to help others like me to find the way to a deep and better relationship with the Lord. After much thought I could say in all honesty that I am more of a fan of Christ. It is my hope that through this series I will learn how to become a true follower…

  • Cheryl

    “Fan or Follower”. Great words to ponder. Being a “fan” is a natural first step. A turning of your attention toward something you find an interest in, something you find worthy of your time. Only in this case we are not talking about a sporting event or a team, or even a popular music artist….we are speaking of Jesus, Our Lord & Savior. I never really looked at myself as a mere “fan”. But with a little pondering, I realize that is unfortunately where I fall sometimes. I am a cheerleader…cheering for Jesus- but where I fall short is TRULY living out the day to day….the sacrificial type of love that is needed to be a follower. That IS my hearts desire. I don’t just want people to know I love Jesus ( rah – rah) I want them to encounter him – thru me – thru my life. And so often, I, like a “fair weather fan” – get frustrated at the ” game” & leave during the 4th quarter if it’s stormy or we are down….or I feel defeated. I want to be the last fan left in the stadium on a blizzard-y day –not only cheering my team on (Christ & His Church) but laying down my life for every person who has no desire to stay or those that never even make it to the game (faith) in the first place. When I see the world thru the eyes of Christ & love AUTHENTICALLY with HIS heart – that is when I will know I am a follower. Setting aside my pom poms… Praying for the grace to be a authentic follower – one encounter at a time.

  • Cheryl

    Love that – I want to be your word. Thanks!

  • Elaine Tegart

    I don’t think I’ve ever really considered the difference between “fan” and “follower.” At least not consciously! I need to do this! Lately, I’ve been accumulating “information” about Jesus, my Faith, the Bible…what I’ve not realized is that as I do this, my whole outlook on life is changing! I hope that means I’m slowly but surely becoming a follower, and not just a fan! Will make more focused intention in my studies hereafter! I’m looking forward to the rest of the series; God bless you, Jeff!

  • Alan

    definitely agree with the others , I have been busy being just a fan of Jesus. I need to backup and discover being a follower of Jesus. Thanks Jeff for this wake up call ….

  • Adrian

    Oh my ! I have been patting myself the whole year through with the amount of effort I have put into knowing Jesus in this year of faith and I have been so pleased with my progress I have actually inducted myself into the Followers Hall of Fame. I have been so much of an evangelist for the ascension press sharing my new found treasures and urging friends and family to sign up while I have almost forgotten my primary vocation to focus on the footsteps rather than the “hoot steps” of the noisy fan I have been all along.

    The good news is The Lord loves this messed up fan thank you Jeff and the Ascension Press for the yeomen service in stoking the fires of the fan so that when the 24 hour cycle ends and a new dawn awakens the spirit we will be invited to follow in His footsteps. I am so excited !

    Thank you all you journeymen I really look forward to being with you all as we tread this path in being holy as He is Holy.

  • Dottie

    Wow! So well put, Jeff. Admirers, Fans? Bring it on Jeff! I will be watching and listening. Want to be a real follower of Jesus. Want to be like Jesus! I have alot of Catholic years behind me. With whatever years are left I want to follow arm in arm, hand in hand, more and more with Jesus. Thanks for your discipleship! Looking forward to Rabbi-Discipleship Relationship!

  • donna g

    When i finished listening to Jeff’s talk, I remembered my reflection on yesterday’s reading when St. Paul said “I have completed the race, I have kept the faith”. St. Paul was a true follower of Jesus. This reading pulled at my heart strings and I was moved to tears. As I search the past year of walking my Mom Home in her journey with Alzhiemers. I saw how I had completed the race, I had kept the faith in so many ways. And yet I wondered, if and how well, I will continue…I know the temptations, I know my weaknesses, I know about my restlessness, my disctactions, my rebellioun, how I walk away and turn around and come back. A fan, that admires Jesus, talks about Jesus, but at the same time knows what it will take to follow Him and has fears of following and fears of losing Him. I look forward to this journey and hope I will grow beyond those fears of following Him so that Indeed, I will be able to say “I have kept the faith”.

  • ME

    I have learned a lot from the Year of Faith, and slowly my family and I are starting to implement in our own home some of the things we have learned. It will be a slow process, but my husband has been probably the most affected, and is leading the way very well in our family. It helps also that now my son has started his First Reconciliation classes, and our parish has implemented a program to get the parents involved with catechesis on the same nights as the children’s classes. We have found it greatly beneficial. Also we attended the Rediscover:2013 a couple weeks ago, and just returned from Thirst 2013 in Bismarck ND a couple days ago. We are trying to live what we have learned from all of these great speakers we’ve heard, but it is a struggle. Thanks to Jeff and the team. I have followed most of the series throughout the year, and it has been a big help. :)

  • Carole

    I tried this year to be a follower of Jesus. A strange thing kept happening. The more aware I became of the need to be a follower and the more I tried, it seemed that I became more and more of my shortcomings. Things that I used to think were part of my personality and ” normal” started looking more like things that kept me from walking in the path Jesus had for me. And even though I started having a kenn sense of my shortcomings and my sinfulness, I also became more aware of the love of Jesus. It dawned on me one day that I don’t have to prove myself to anyone- they are not my salvation. Jesus is. And my way to salvation is seeing Him in everyone I meet and everything that occurs each day.

  • Debi S.

    Fan or follower? Good question. Pondering on these thought it brought me face to face as to why am I spending time to know more about Jesus, my religion, it’s history and everything I could about the Catholic Church.
    One thing is clear: I want to know more about Him because I would like to move from “blind faith” and to a more knowledgeable one. In so doing, I came across a stumbling block: a very BIG boulder of questions. Foremost is the question: WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE? There are innumerable books, periodicals written about this and none has satisfactorily answered my question. I guess because my question was not stated correctly: it should be: WHY DOES GOD ALLOW BAD THINGS TO HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY INNOCENT CHILDREN?”

    I haven’t found any satisfactory answer til now. Does that keep me away from Him? No. I follow Him not as a star struck teenager but one who desires to gather more knowledge so I can live the way He would like me to. Following Christ’s path is very difficult. I cannot readily give my left cheek if somebody slaps me on the right. And there are more instances when I couldn’t do what is expected of me. I’m tyring very hard to study Him so I can live like Him.

    So am I a fan or a follower? definitely a fan and an aspiring follower. With prayer, perseverance and asistance from the Holy Spirit , I hope and pray to follow in His footsteps without any doubt nor hesitation.

  • Ascension Press

    Well done! Keep up your faithfulness.

  • Ascension Press

    Don’t become discouraged by your shortcomings, Carole! Just as you said, remember that Christ loves you, and that every moment is an eternal opportunity to love Him and be more like Him.

  • Michele

    Jeff, I love your teachings. Can you please address the difference between an apostle and a disciple? Jesus’ 12 apostles seemed to have a little different role than the other disciples. In fact, the 72 disciples talked about in the Bible were never called apostles, were they? Thank you for helping us all become more of followers than fans.

  • Don Schwab

    Thought provoking and maybe I am not as much as a follower of Our Lord, as a fan. I will have to work on becoming what I want to be, Lord Willing. Wish I had found this site earlier, look forward the the next four parts.


  • DRE

    What a thought provoking idea–a fan or a follower?? They both may begin the same but the question comes how far do we take it. It hit home when you said a follower is willing to die for the followee. That’s when I truly had to say I am a fan. I must work to become a follower. So many times I fail to follow. For example, at the birth of my granddaughter we gathered in the room as my daughter went to surgery. We suggested that we should gather in prayers. We wanted to say the rosary but to be polite to the non-Catholic we did not. We just said an Our Father. Truly, we didn’t even ask the non-Catholic if he would be offended. And should that matter? Should we not pray as we are called even if it may cause a feeling of unease. Who knows, maybe that one rosary could have caused a conversion of heart or sparked a conversation that could lead to better understanding. However, as we often do, we Catholics step back so as to not offend but who are we truly offending. We should be proud of our faith and the devotionals we practice. I think there is a way to stay true to who we are and not offend. But we do need to be honest and stand up for our principles.

  • Nilsa

    It seems that most of us commence by being a fan. I definitely want to be a follower, and have been trying very hard. This Year of Faith has helped my lots, and I hope to continue my journey to become a real follower of Jesus. Jeff, I love your teachings, and I’m looking forward to the rest of this series. Blessings….Nilsa

  • donna g

    I like your “peace”, back to you.

  • Bev H Smith

    I am a fan and have been so for most of my life; but that is changing. This year has brought a change in my prayer life. I pray more often and I look forward to my time of prayer. It is just me and my creator.

  • Andy

    I am both a fan and a follower of Jesus. I love Him and want to serve Him with every ounce of my being. When I fail, and that happens a lot, I return to Him in confession to repair and restore my relationship so I might continue following him in His way of suffering. Anyone who disputes life is suffering should try living. But as a follower, our suffering is redemptive when we offer it to God. I am thankful not only for the good times in my life, but particularly for the difficult, for the hard times. God has made me who I am though them and I cannot imagine life without God or faith in Him. God loves you. May His grace fill your lives and by His Spirit, may He transform us all into His followers.

  • rick

    sounds like you read Kyle Idelman’s book, “not a fan”. I think you should have given him credit